Valentine's Day is nearly upon us and with it comes the special combination of anxiety and neuroticism that makes me uniquely me. As if my general fears of the day aren't enough, I am now finding myself contemplating what illness or accident will land me another romantic evening in the Emergency Room.
I'm so glad that my kids have not inherited my Valentine's craziness. They seem pretty cool and matter-of-fact about it. There's no anxiety about giving a valentine to the weird kid or people thinking that they like the weird kid. I guess that's a plus to today's school system. They really emphasize that every kid in the class is "one of our friends." That wasn't the case when I was growing up. There was a definite stigma associated with being friends with some kids. Was it fair? No. Did I want to exclude people? No. But when you're a kid with thick glasses, freckles and really messed up teeth, you can't take any chances giving a Valentine to the smelly kid. Childhood was really rough for me.
We actually have the opportunity to have a grown-up night out this year. Our church’s Married Couples Group is sponsoring a romantic evening of dinner and entertainment. It's reasonably priced, but we can't make it for a few reasons, which coincidentally is the exact number of children we have. When you have three kids and not a single one of them is old enough to stay home alone or watch any of the others, you spend a lot of Valentine's Days eating chicken nuggets and watching Curious George.
We could hire our niece to babysit. She's done it before and did a great job. She's responsible, organized, and really prepared. She's much more prepared than I ever was when I used to babysit kids. She brings toys, prizes, candy and activities. But that's not really the problem either.
My parents are going to the Married Couples Valentine's Dinner. I suppose this isn't really that big of a deal. But personally, I find it really difficult to look deeply into my love's eyes while my Dad is asking me to pass the salt.
And here's Robert Downy, Jr., just because he makes everything better.