We're not a big mushy-gushy Valentine's Day family. The precedent was set early; even when we were dating, Husband scorned it as a "Hallmark holiday"...yet bought me cards and chocolate anyway, thus deftly managing to skate by with minimal effort, but still receive full marks for gift satisfaction. (What? Doesn't everyone keep a mental Report Card to evaluate the long-term potential of Significant Others?) And to this day, that's how we tend to commemorate Hearts, Sweets, and Flowers Day around here: with little surprises--tokens of our affection, really--that show each other we're thinking of them and we care.
It's hard to be sneaky when you all live together in the same house, but Husband and I apparently each had the same brainstorm: to take the boys out shopping for treats on the premise of "picking something up" or "running out for a quick errand, be back soon". Yeah, it fooled absolutely no one, but it was a cute ploy, nonetheless. Even funnier--when the Male Trio returned from their mysterious outing, Husband had the brilliant idea to hide the purchases in Riley's closet...about 10 feet from where I was sitting in my room, reading or Facebooking or some such nonsense. So Riley--the very epitome of subtlety and deception (HA! The boy never met a secret he didn't love...to TELL...as soon as possible!)--was dispatched to engage me in conversation and prevent me from catching sight of my goodies. He planted himself directly in my doorway, an enormous canary-eating grin splitting his face, and pretended to be oh-so-smooth: "So, Mom, what's up? How's it going?" and other inane chatter. Adorable...gooberhead.
My own excursion with my sons was much more of the stealthy variety--aided by the fact that Husband was working on the computer in the home office at the time, and probably didn't even notice we had gone out. (But we're still Valentine Ninjas, I tell ya!) However, the easiest trip of all occurred when I was able to blitz a local Target during school and work hours, while everyone else was away. I purchased all of my little love trinkets in one place, at one time, without anyone being the wiser. For one last special present, I popped by Dunkin' Donuts before work on the 14th to select eclairs adorned with red-and-pink-sprinkles--you know, in case they didn't achieve off-the-charts-sugar-intake during the rest of their festive day. (Obviously no photographic evidence of their existence remains...you'll just have to take my word for it....I wouldn't lie about donuts!)
Without further ado--here, as they say, is the proof in the pudding: (No, I don't know what that means...)
Husband, true to form, went with the time-honored dark chocolate option. Guess I neglected to tell him I'm not eating it during Lent...oops! (If I hide it away from scavengers--I mean "the children", I'm sure it will remain unopened and fresh until Easter, yeah?) The red hearts came filled with M&Ms (for Riley) and gum (for Derek, who's recently become OBSESSED with chewing the stuff, since he was freed from braces). Speaking of current fascinations--Riley chose the purple frog (his amphibian of choice) to give to me, probably because he knew I'd allow him to "watch over it" for me amidst the ever-growing collection of stuffed croakers in his room (although they don't actually make noise, thank goodness). The decorated sack is Riley's Swag Bag from his class party at school. He made out well--with cards, candy, and small toys galore.
As for the paper expressions of esteem, I will highlight my two favorites. The first was chosen by Derek for his Dad; it has Daffy Duck on the front saying, "Oh, Dearest Father, before you open this valentine, pause and reflect on the joyous moments that I have provided you with in the past." Inside, Daffy's indignantly looking at his watch and exclaiming, "You could have reflected a little longer than that!" When we picked it up in the store, we laughed out loud imagining Derek's voice delivering the lines, so obviously that was a perfect choice for a smart-mouth almost-teenaged son. Then there was Husband's selection for me. It features a photo of two squirrels on the front, appearing deep in serious conversation (as much as possible for small rodents, I suppose). The charming speech bubble over one of their heads proclaims (wait for it) "My nuts are yours." Sooooo heartfelt and touching, right? Sigh. (To his credit, he balanced it out with a sappy one as well. Nice save, dear...)
Thus ends another Valentine's Day and all the silliness that goes with it. Fortunately, even when all of the edible presents have disappeared, the bond of family remains...and it certainly seems like there's always another chocolate-giving celebration right around the corner (Bunny Day, Mother's Day...Flag Day--work with me, here...nothing says "symbol of freedom" quite like the ability to consume chocolate with abandon, and without fear of reprisal...or that may be just me...again... oh well...Happy Whatever, anyway!)