I'm sure for many people (although I'm not actually sure if I know any of them) Valentine's Day is all about romance, wine, roses...and whatnot. It might have been that way around here, back when Team WestEnders consisted of just Husband and me--honestly that time is so far in the past, it's pretty murky, so I'm not sure--but it certainly is NOT the case these days.
Now, don't get me wrong, we haven't given up and spurned the whole sugar-driven holiday in its entirety. For example, we still try to find cards--for everyone in the family. But let me tell ya, the selection of stuff offered by Hallmark and the like seems to me to include only three genres: the cringe-worthy risque...the groan-inducing...and the nauseatingly sappy. Since I shuddered at most of the inappropriately racy ones...and I simply don't DO drippy...that left me with only one option...buy horribly punny tokens of my affection for all of my boys. (Even with this having been decided, I still had to stand in front of the display for a good--or painful, depending on how you look at it--20 minutes before finally selecting what I considered the "least awful". Nice sentiment for a Day of Love, yeah? Thanks so much, greeting card companies...)
Oh well, I shouldn't have worried, because apparently the guys ran into the same issue, as demonstrated by the one Derek and Riley chose for me (above and at right). Ay yi yi, am I right?
Anyway, the other--frankly much more important, if you ask me--element of honoring your sweethearts is of course the giving and receiving of...CHOCOLATE. Or, in Husband's case, Good & Plenties, since the man just has an inexplicable, weird preference for the the wax-coated licorice over the good stuff. Eh, more creamy cocoa deliciousness for ME, I always say...except this year he sheepishly confessed that, with all the things I'm avoiding in my diet, he wasn't sure what I could actually have, so he didn't risk buying something I couldn't eat. Siiiighhh...guess I'm responsible for my own fix this year. (However, he has been duly instructed that both Whole Foods and Weaver Street Market carry an organic, 70% dark chocolate bar that is free of bad stuff, so in the future he won't run into this problem again--no excuses!)
As for the kids, I strolled the candy aisle at Target to forage for treats. They're both old enough to have officially grown out of the "cutesy stuffed animals holding sweets" phase, yet when I spotted an adorable frog-shaped tin filled with goodies, I couldn't resist. You see, Riley has always loved frogs, and is juuuust sentimental enough to enjoy the fact that he can keep the container afterwards and fill it with--I don't know, school supplies or something practical. That's how I rationalized it, anyway, and as it turns out, I was right, because he must have thanked me 5 separate times and told me how much he liked it. (Win!)
Derek's reaction, on the other hand, was equally as priceless...in a verrry different way. Upon seeing Riley's gift, he mock-indignantly exclaimed, "Hey! How come MY chocolate didn't come packed in the shape of MY favorite animal?" Um...let's see...perhaps it's due to the fact that I don't have a clue what that might be? Or that you even had a preferred creature? Oh, or possibly because you're almost 17 and I know you couldn't care less? (Yeah, that's the one...) But since he'd piqued my curiosity, I asked to which member of the wild kingdom he was referring. "Grizzly bear," he stated emphatically, and then hastened to add, "but I'm talking about the kind that stands in the middle of the stream and catches salmon with its paws!" (Ha! As if I would think he meant any other type...puh-leez...)
And--knowing my son as I do--I totally get why he identifies with...a fuzzy carnivore. However, I also had to break it to him gently that the only kind of...ursine representation...he was gonna get in the "hearts and flowers" section of the store was the grizzly's FAR less fierce cousin..."Ted E. Bear". He nodded thoughtfully and accepted this with good grace, appreciating the sports-themed array I'd picked out just for him.
Then when I finally got around to opening my cards from Husband at dinner time, he was quite pleased with himself over this one:
Granted, it falls in that "silly-cute" category, so it was definitely what I expect from him...and also suspiciously familiar...since (and I almost hated to break this to him)...one of us has bought this exact same card before. Far from being chagrined, though, he brightly enthused, "See? I knew it was a good one!"
But Derek had the final zinger of Valentine's Day 2016, as he piped up in a droll tone, "Isn't that what marriage IS? Recycling old crap all the time and pretending it's new again?" Excuse me for a moment ...mwahahahahahahaha! Well spoken, grasshopper. (And also Memo to Me: lecture that attitude right on out of him before he tries to date..) Now I'll have to be going....to hunt down some chocolate I can devour !