On this Valentine’s Day, we, the Island Family, have reached a landmark moment. Our kids are all in middle school and high school now, so for the first time since 2006, not one single person in the family has to make class valentines.
I am living in the land of mixed emotions. On one hand, my kids are growing up. An era has passed, an era I loved that can never be regained. On the other hand:
Do you know how free you can feel during the month of February with no class valentines to coordinate, no class lists to acquire, no heated discussions on which item or candy to include with the valentines you’ve gone to six stores to find?
Do you know the joy of not thinking about valentine box designs, or the procurement of materials to make the aforementioned box, or the supervision of the construction of the aforementioned box?
Do you know what exuberance you can experience by getting the kids to school and not suddenly realizing your child forgot the valentines at home because there are no valentines to forget like there were last year????
Do you know how hard it was for me not to put the last three questions in caps because I wanted to joyfully scream them to the universe?
Greater parents have been driven to drinking and binge online shopping over these responsibilities. I now feel like Galadriel in Lord of the Rings after she resists the temptation of the ring. Impressing even herself, she says, “I have passed the test. I will diminish and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.” In the movie version, remember Cate Blanchett’s eyes when she realizes she has passed? This is what I am talking about.
I didn’t know February could feel like this. It’s almost better than chocolate. In fact, it is better than white chocolate, my least favorite of the chocolates. That’s how good this feels.
So, now that our kids are older and we are no longer exhausted by the marathon that is the valentine exchange process, LCB and I will probably do things a little differently than we used to do (like exchanging the “So, are we doing anything this year?” looks I mentioned in 2014, for instance). Maybe we’ll crack a bottle of wine. Maybe we’ll hold hands. Maybe LCB will even pull me out on the deck so we can look up at the stars.
And then probably, like last year, at some point one of us will do something that just doesn’t “really fit with the ambiance” LCB will have been “attempting to invoke.” There will be the volleying of wit, just like last year, and soon we’ll be leaning against the railing, overcome by laughter, and the moment will have shifted, almost as fast as preschoolers shift into teenagers.
That moment, too, will eventually pass, as moments always do. But maybe it will pass because we’ll have a “left bank Bordeaux, complex and earthy, with mild tannins, and finished with a hint of currants” waiting inside, one we’ve only had small glasses of thus far, for taste. Maybe it will even be the very same “full-fledged adult wine” that reversed the smarting of last year’s parental hits.
It’s quite good, that wine. It would be a shame to waste it, so maybe we’ll move inside, fill our glasses, and just…enjoy that moment.
Enjoy this Valentine’s Day.