It's Valentines Day. Now, if you are a hopeless romantic who will spend your day being showered with cards, chocolates, flowers, and candlelit dinners -- well, lucky you, but you might want to stop reading. I love romantic overtures as much as the next girl, but over the years, my concept of romance has changed to accommodate my romantically challenged husband and my life with 4 kids.
Today, I was supposed to get up to get the kids ready at 5:45. I loathe getting up early. So my loving husband gave me a great gift for Valentines Day -- he told me to turn off my alarm. I didn't go back to sleep, exactly, but I was warm, cozy, and dozing while the morning was handled without me. That was awesome and I felt loved.
Yesterday, we took all 4 kids to the doctor and my husband went with us to help. He had gotten them ready for school yesterday too because it was his day off. (While at the doctor's office, I realized that the 6 year old was wearing her pajamas under her clothes. Dad didn't know to make sure that she took off her PJ's before she got dressed.) So here all 6 of us sit in this small exam room, and my kids are being my kids. Dad isn't used to the chaos. He looks at me wide eyed and says something like "You usually do this all by yourself? This is nuts." It felt good to be justified. It was a touch of my brand of romance -- my husband's way of saying "I am in awe of all that you do." Again, I felt loved.
I have been working over the past 2 weeks on a lot of freelance stuff. I tend to go at something new with reckless abandon when I get into it, and this new job is no different. It is truly, the perfect job for me because I don't have to get dressed or wear makeup, I don't have to pay for childcare, and I can do what I love and get paid. Because I love it, I have a tendency to use tunnel vision. I can block out the laundry and the dishes and the clutter because I am doing what I want and there is a tangible, financial reward for it. My loving husband has helped me out by taking on some of the housework. He has vacuumed, swept, and mopped; he has done laundry and taken care of the kids; and he even cooked dinner last night. It has been a big help, but more than that -- he knows that I am enjoying the work and that I feel really good about being able to contribute financially. We have had several big, unexpected, expenses in the past month. Ordinarily, I could only help face those types of problems by figuring out how to cut costs and usually, there was nothing that could be done. We needed tires -- nearly $600. We've been sick and had sick kids which translates to medical bills -- nearly $300 in ER, doctors, and medicines. We don't do credit. Before I started working freelance, it would have taken months to make up the deficit. We would have gone without tires for a little longer, paid for the medical bills as we could, when we could, and may have even had to borrow from my parents to keep up. It is empowering for me to be able to actively contribute. It is a power I haven't had in years. And my husband has helped make it possible by stepping up more than usual so that I don't feel like I have abandoned the stuff around the house. THAT is romantic -- empowering your spouse, helping them feel important and needed, showing them that they are needed, that you appreciate them, and that you love them by making what they want possible.
Maybe after my check comes next week, I will go hit the clearance aisle at Target and get some chocolate. Maybe this weekend, when the Valentines flowers are marked down, I'll grab a bunch for 1/4 of the price of what they are going for today. But I don't need or want chocolates and roses (especially not on February 14th when they are double priced). I don't want gold or diamonds -- I have 4 steel belted "rings" keeping me and my kids safe on my van. I would love a day at a spa, but I have 4 kids who were able to have visits to the pediatrician when they needed it, and that is infinitely better.
I don't have a Valentine. I have a husband and a partner. He supports me, he puts up with me, and he shows his love for me and our kids every day of the year. And I would not trade him for the world.