I have always had a love-hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. There were a lot of years when I didn’t manage to be in possession of a boyfriend on February 14. You’ve all had that experience, right? All around you there are smug, happy couples gleefully feeding one another truffles from heart-shaped boxes when you are headed home to eat canned soup and watch a rerun of Hill Street Blues, or worse, Three’s Company.

Now that I’ve been married for nearly 10 years, V-Day presents a different problem. It’s “Oh god, is it Valentine’s Day AGAIN? I’d better do something sweet and romantic for my spouse. Right after I get this load of laundry started.”

Actually, every year since our very first February together, I have written Technogeek a love letter. In it I talk about what we’ve done together for the last year, and express my continuing love and hopes for many more V-Days to come. He seems to like the letters, and besides, I can’t buy him chocolate, he’s on the Atkins diet. Also, it has always seemed wrong to buy flowers for a man unless somebody died.

The problem is, as I get older and we’ve been together practically forever, it becomes more and more difficult to remember what happened in the last year. They blur together. And sometimes, the things I remember weren’t all that fun. Did we scrub the mold off the bathroom ceiling together this year, or last?

And so, like all middle-aged people with children, I resort to talking about the kids. Their achievements are also ours, after all. I should get some credit for all those hours of guiding, encouraging, worrying, fussing, disciplining, congratulating and wisdom-dispensing, shouldn’t I?

I guess I’ll be writing these letters for many years to come. I wonder what I will find to say after the kids have grown and moved out? Hopefully something like this: “Our European tour was a delightful sojourn. Can’t wait to spend next winter in the Caribbean with you. And please remind me to have Ramon air out the summer house in Belize before we arrive. You know how forgetful I can be.”

EDIT: for the record, I wasn’t really listening to The Captain and Tenille. The title just went well with the post. I was really listening to Tony Orlando and Dawn. It was a 70’s kind of night.


24 thoughts on “

  1. I wish I believed that their accomplishments were ours. (I’d have at least accomplished something worthwhile this week…month.) Hm, yeah, I don’t subscribe to the above mentioned holiday/obsevance/made-up crock o’poo… but I try to be loving every day…*snort*

  2. That is a great tradition.  I think I’ll strain my mommy-addled brain and try to write Papa Bear a Valentine’s letter.
    Love the last paragraph.  We started having kids early.  The last two times that I’ve told Papa Bear that we are “expecting,” he has calculated what his age will be when the nest is empty.  “Now I’ll be 48 when the last one leaves, and we go to Europe!”. . .I’m 30 now, but can you believe I had 4 kids in my 20’s– doesn’t happen that often anymore. 

  3. yesterday the husband said “are we doing anything for valentine’s day?” i said, “i didn’t get you a card yet.” he said, “i didn’t get you one yet either.” so i said, “let’s forget valentine’s day.”  and he said “sounds good to me.”  it falls to close to our anniversary so no point worrying about it.  of course, back in the olden days when we were young and romantic, he’d buy me a box of chocolates.  maybe he thinks i’m too fat now?

  4. Yeah, sometimes I think Valentine’s is overrated. Especially now since I am single! Even when I had a boyfriend it wasn’t that special. He wasn’t into those things, or he just forgot. Kindda sucks when you give someone something, but he doesn’t give back. Oh well, I’m not bitter. My parents don’t really do anything for V-day. My dad might get mom some flowers, but I think that’s it. Good luck with your letter!

  5. I love your letters.  This hasn’t been our most romantic year, but we did have a nice trip to Victoria last summer.  Anyway, maybe I’m a little odd,  but sharing our children’s accomplishments does seem sort of romantic to me.

  6. I think the letter writing is a great idea that shows thoughtfulness and effort went into how you consider and recognize the relationship whether it changes or not. It’s just a nice thing to do even if the content isn’t filled with amazing insights or major achievements. It’s the enduring nature of a long-term relationship that is an achievement worth recognizing.

  7. Captain and Tenille?  Are you on meds….(Just kidding) muskrat Suzie!!!  First let me thank you for the info on the Erma contest…I entered, bad grammar and all!  2nd, let me give you complete empathy on V-Day…or VD Day around here as we call it.  I have been married for 16 years, have a 16 year old and a 14 year old (do the math) and can tell you what it feels like to be home alone with your hubbie on the weekend.  Boring as hell.  Most of the time you don’t have any extra money because you gave it to the kids…..and all you have to talk about are the kids, money and what did you do yesterday? Oh you mean the day I spent looking at your face on the other couch?….It really isn’t that bad, but between folding the towels, chasing the kids and playing “Wife”, I forgot to add the romance…..but we are working on it..Happy VD Day to you and yours!  Kim

  8. The letters sound like a great idea. It’s good to take stock of your life. And it’s right that you consider the children’s achievments to be yours. They are a product of you – you shape their lives so much that you deserve to give yourself a pat on the back when they do well.

  9. My husband and I have only been married for 4 years, but we have already decided that the hoopla over Valentine’s Day is pretty rediculous.  We make each other cards (and I will admit to you that I found a website with mad-lib love letters…and I copied one right into his card–filling in the blanks with only a few creative words), and cook together.  I tell him not to waste money on flowers–the price skyrockets beyond what could ever be reasonable.  We bought a box of truffles to share, and I think it was $7.  Expressions don’t have to be big to be meaningful.

  10. You’re right–it can get pretty hard to whip up a lot of excitement about Valentine’s Day after many years.  Hubby and I have been together for 25 years (before and after marriage), and we’ve pared V.D. down to a pretty modest acknowledgement.  But we do have one tradition:  Whatever small gift or gesture we have for one another is exchanged first thing in the morning–it’s a way of showing that we were thinking about it ahead of time and didn’t run out on the holiday itself to find something.  I guess it’s one way to show affection and respect for one another.  Today I got yellow roses – my favorite.  Happy heart day!

  11. RYC: Jodi there is nothing more healthy sometimes then promoting a good debate. My angry tone was intended only to provoke the argument and get the thoughts rolling. It is an issue that effects everyone agree?…

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