Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentines: Family Style

Valentines falls smack-dab in between my birthday and my hubby's. 
So February kinda has a lot of pressure.

I laughed so hard at the scene in last weeks "The Middle"  (one of my favorite shows, no one else seems to's funny people, really funny!) when the husband says to the wife, 
"Oh are we doing Valentines this year?" with slight panic in his voice, masked with fake-confusion. The line was a little too familiar.

Every year it seems like Ben and I are unsure of the expectation. 
(Presents no present? Surprise, no surprise? Going out, staying in?)

Unclear expectations in marriage can be a dangerous thing.

But with a little content communication  and a great suggestion from a friend 
we ended up having a great Valentines Day.

The suggestion? Well it was more just her describing her family's did V-day traditions. 
"It was a family holiday for us growing up."

My brain grabbed onto the idea. Hmmm, how would Valentines look, if instead of thinking it had to be all about romance and me and my "lover" (don't know why I quoted that, we have three kids after all), if instead of sitting at home all day waiting for my Valentine to get home from work, so we can go celebrate...

If instead, it was a day just about love. Lovin' my kids and using any chance I get to show them how special they are, even if that just means hearts shaped construction paper and pancakes.

It really transformed the day for me. 
I was on a quest to just make the day fun and memorable for my kids and in the process it became fun and memorable for me. Bonus.

And I was left thinking why didn't I do this before?

For one I think being a cynic has somehow got "cool"...and sadly I think I had, to some degree, bought into aspects of that unwittingly. That maybe I resist what I see as "going over the top" because I think it conveys a falsity---an ideal rather than the real. We all know (all to well!) that love is not all flowers and chocolates.
It's sometimes ridiculously hard to communicate and better yet understand each other (two separate things). There are misunderstandings and hurt feelings, and in my case a lot of imagined arguments, and just stress in general, knowing we really do care about a person but still managing to louse it up time after time.

And so maybe the chocolates and flowers are less about portraying some untarnished ethereal love, but more a token of the concept of, "I'm still trying."

Because to me love is a choice. Everyday we decide to keep trying to love better than we did yesterday. Love casteth out fear...fear that we'll never be enough, or that we'll never stop messing up; fear that would say "give up, stop trying".

Love is the choice to keep trying. 

And this Valentine's Day I tried a little harder.  So in between the constant whining, and never-ending fighting and squabbling of my "hands on boys"  there were a few more hearts cut out, a few more kisses and hugs. A little less focus on whether I was getting flowers or not...
...a few more smiles and a bit more love.
(and lots more picture taking, which always makes me happy;)

It was "pink and red" day at school and Aaron with a little help from his friend Paigie's  wardrobe, went all out!

My little Valentines stud!

Going through Aaron's school loot.

Stinking with the heart theme for cookie cutters make everything fun!
But he always gives in

He always tries so hard to look unimpressed

"Oh no, I forgot it was Valentines!" (actually one handed peek a boo)

Peek a boo????....

....or pick a booger!!!!!

Our day was not all cookie-cutter bliss.
There was lots of the normal everyday messiness/potty-training/running out of toilet paper cuz Levi keeps playing in the potty/ McKye PLEEEASSSE put some undies on regular life.

McKye requested "playdough cookies"
I don't think he actual knows you can make real cookies with cookie cutters,
cuz we never have!

McKye learned our last name and he's a tad obsessed. "Daddy Bretzke! Mommy Bretzke! Mckye Bretzke!"

The one on the right was only a little sarcastic

Aaron had my chocolates from Ben before I'd even seen them, signing "Open!"as fast as he could. 

I did get my flowers. Good job Benny.

I was brave and wore my glasses out for our date. 
Then we had a delicious dinner...

prepared by our talented friend

And even though we already had dessert.....

...we went out again!

Girls on one side...

Boys on the other. HA HA Bets Valentines date ever!

From the Bretzke Family!


Liesel said...Best Blogger Tips

I LOVE The Middle!!!!
Nice heart food. Pickles are the most amazing.

cc said...Best Blogger Tips

LOVE all your pictures...the cute little heart-shaped food was awesome, and it looks like your v-day was fantastic!! Can I get a copy of our date-night photos?

Marie said...Best Blogger Tips

I'm a fan of the family valentine's day too. It is so fun to share the love.

I'm not sure what I think about these 80s style glasses coming back into fashion. I really don't. I'm getting new glasses in two months (when Dirk's insurance plan says I can) and I don't know if I'm ready to jump on board. I wear my glasses everyday. Can I make that kind of commitment to a brand new trend? Or, will I miss the chance to get some now, and have to wait two more years while everyone else moves on with the style and I look completely out of date? A tough call for me.

You, however, look adorable in your 80s specs. No problem there. In fact, how about you find something that you DON'T look good in and take a picture of that, because I haven't seen it yet.

Chelsea Belle said...Best Blogger Tips

oh heavens, I by no means commit to trends!!! those are $3 cheapo fake-ohs, I've worn once (with my contacts) and even then I thought, hmmm, one day my kids are gonna laugh at these pictures of me! Fashion is a hard task master.
You always look great Marie.