Yesterday was a real hum-dinger.
I worked my butt off to make a memorable Valentines Breakfast for my family. I dipped big, juicy, luscious red strawberries in chocolate.
I served petit fours with little icing hearts piped onto them, with bowls of red cherries, and red raspberries.
I made Sausage Gravy and Biscuits – From Scratch. ( Oh BABY )
I decorated the kid’s placemats with baskets of Valentines goodies ranging from I LOVE YOU cards to chocolate heart boxes. Troy’s place had a sweet mushy loving card and some freshly brewed coffee just the way he likes it….blacker than black. We had sparkling apple/cranberry juice served in a wine bottle. And, as tradition, I put the old valentine’s crafts the kids made when they were 3 years old on the table as centerpieces. All of these things were lovingly set on the old valentine’s tablecloth I’ve used for 10 years. You know the one we all have with obnoxious, multicolored hearts all over it. Fabulous!
It was a lot of work…WHEW… but it was worth it because I want them all to feel special on this day. Loved on this day. Like they matter on this day (and every day!). I knew to forget this day would be crushing! After all, no one wants to be taken for granted or feel unloved or unappreciated! I would show them how much they were all loved and appreciated!
But, I had a hell of a time getting anyone out of bed.
And they all bitched and moaned and took their time getting to the table.
And they were all half asleep to notice all the work (and love!) that had gone into the breakfast table.
And not one of them had put anything for me on my place. No card. No handmade cut out heart. No nothing. Nada. Zip.
Look, I’m not looking for anything fancy, but even a hastily scrawled note on the back of an envelope would have been better than nothing. Hell, I would have been happy if someone had just poured me a cup of coffee.
***sigh*** “Oh well,” I told myself, “It’s about giving, not receiving, right?” Attitude is everything, right?
But wait, it got worse.
My son and my husband got into a pissing match about whether or not my son could open up his valentine’s candy before eating his sausage gravy and biscuit.
Which caused my daughter to leave the table in tears.
And then I left the table, exasperated, with a passing snarl to my husband and son and an unhappy cloud forming over my head.
After I got the kids on the bus, I went straight to my mother’s house to bring her a little Valentine’s breakfast. After all, I wanted her to know how loved she is, too, right? Well, she was still in bed, apparently nursing a cold. I popped into her room, bearing Breakfast Burritos and Valentine Cheer on my face and her only words to me were, “Put it on the counter, I’ll get it later.” ***Sigh*** She was sick, so I gave her a pass.
But I left with an even bigger, darker cloud over my head.
I came home and wanted to kick the dog. But since we don’t have a dog, I yelled at My Captain instead. All of my attempts for displays of love had been thwarted, no one was cooperating, and I was pissed! And dammit, why couldn’t my son have his Valentine’s candy for breakfast?! It’s not like I put it out there on the table to torment him! Snarl! Bark! Growl! Gnashing of teeth!
Oddly enough, the rest of the morning didn’t go any better.
My doctor’s office called to ask where the hell I was. Oh YEAH,…I had a check up. So I hightailed it to Poolesville as fast as I could. I hate hate hate being late for things like that. (Not that it doesn’t happen with regularity, but I still hate it.)
Cloud. Over. Head. Ominously. Dark.
Then – duh duh duuuuuuhhhh! (that’s my trumpet call) – a break in the growing gloom! I got to help at my kid’s elementary school with a valentine’s party! A bunch of fourth and fifth graders screaming and laughing and eating sugar can do wonders for a mood. And I was right in there with them, baby! In the thick of it. In my element. (Apparently mass hysteria, mayhem, and chaos are my element.)
I was refreshed when I got back home from the fun and sugar, and was determined to salvage the rest of the day. I took a much-needed, attitude-adjusting 30 minute nap, and then set to work making a Valentine’s dinner to remember.
Homemade Welsh Rarebit over pumpernickel Texas Toast and Eggs as a main entrée, with Black Bean and Corn salad (dressed in homemade raspberry balsamic vinaigrette) on the side. And, of course I had more chilled, sparkling Juice from a wine bottle to wash it all down. I lit a romantic red candle, had soft music playing, and had flowers on the table.
And my daughter was the only one who willingly came to the table. (She loves food, you see, like her mama, so it was relatively simple to get her to join me.)
My son hated the meal. Wanted to get back to his Coloring. Acted like I was trying to poison him.
My husband didn’t even join us for dinner. He went to his friend Rob’s house for much-needed man time, making a new Kegerator, and drinking homebrew. For some reason men get uncomfortable on Valentine’s Day. Especially the Manly Men who’ve been yelled at by their wives that morning. They’re weird that way.
So the day was nearly over, and still there were no paper hearts or even a card or anything for mama. Nothing to acknowledge her.
The Dark Ominous Cloud Rumbled.
I tried to tell myself that I’ve gotten to the age where I’m not supposed to need visible signs of appreciation or affection like I did as a kid. But I wasn’t buying it. I can’t talk myself out of a bad mood; I can’t fool myself, you see, because I already know I’m full of crap. That’s the way my subconscious works. I try to give myself a peptalk, and then I blow that peptalk away with sarcastic, pessimistic, cynicism. And the voice that does that is the same one that tells me I’m fat, my hair is gray, and everyone in the world can see those big black hairs growing out of my chin. And it sounds a lot like Rodney Dangerfield, for some reason.
I know, I know, Jung, Freud, and Nietzsche would have loved me.
The awful reality is that even at the ripe old age of 44, when a person doesn’t get affirmation, especially on the day when it seems like everyone else in society is affirming their loved ones, it feels awfully lonely. I couldn’t wait to write off Valentine’s Day 2012. (insert Pathetic Mumble. Whine. Whimper. and small, teary, self-pitying sniff.)
And then it happened.
As I do most every night, I took turns laying down with each one of my kids to end the day with a warm snuggle. I cuddled next to my daughter, listening to the clock tick in the quiet dark, silently wishing the day to hell, when she reached over, gently patted my cheek, and whispered, “Mommy, Happy Valentine’s Day. I really really love you so much. Thank You.”
And all was right with the world again. The nasty ominous cloud disappeared on the breath of a child’s whispered ‘Thank You’.
Mommies don’t need much, but we do need something on Valentine’s Day. And my Varmint gave it to me, right when I’d given up hope that anyone in my family would.
*** A Post Script *** My Captain DID show me he had plenty of Valentine’s love for me later, by not killing me for writing this story and posting it for all to see. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is. He’s a great guy. And no, he’s not standing over me as I type this.