This post could alternately be titled: Or Why We Don’t Celebrate Valentine’s Day Anymore. (Kind of.)
BigBrother was not quite three months old and I was deep in the throes of postpartum depression. We had just bought the house but had not yet moved out of our apartment and into said house. As such, stress levels were high with the packing, decluttering, painting of the new house and general anxiety that comes with buying your first home. We were planning on moving the 16th of February, so by the 14th — Valentine’s Day — we were maxed out on stress.
But, gee, BigBrother was cute, no?
The high stress made me a little bit grumpy — and that may be a gross understatement. I didn’t want to go to work that day as it was; I had so much left to do in order to get us ready to move. And at that point in time, I still placed some unnecessary, unrealistic, unatainable importance on Valentine’s Day. The winds of drama were churning, blowing my postpartum emotions about.
And then? C’mon fire partners, I know you know what I’m about to say next.
A local restaurant caught on fire, thus creating The Perfect Storm for a Postpartum Rant. In my old blog, I tagged the post as “the valentine’s day the FD ruined.” Oh yes, it was Very Dramatic. It was kind of unfortunate regarding timing as I had to take BigBrother to FireDad’s grandparents’ house. Since FireDad wasn’t supposed to work that day, we hadn’t arranged for our normal child care. Emergencies and fires don’t really care about scheduled child care. As he ran out the door, I began to cry. Any hope of salvaging a Valentine’s Day went down the drain with my weeping snot.
A few days later, as I reread my rant, I realized that it was absolutely ridiculous. FireDad had no control over the fire at the restaurant. BigBrother didn’t care that he spent most of the day with his great-grandparents. Despite working a normal shift that day, we did eventually get packed and moved on schedule. I began to reevaluate my thoughts and beliefs about Valentine’s Day at that point in time.
What was the point of the rant? Of the hurt feelings? I mean, postpartum depression played into that scenario, but the whole tirade seemed rather pointless. Neither of us really placed much importance on Valentine’s Day to begin with, so why was I so upset? I began to see that we didn’t need to do that to ourselves. Also, having just over a year in at the Fire Department at that point, I was also realizing that our schedules are never truly are own; a fire can happen at any time, on any holiday. And, in fact, they usually do. I began to let go of Valentine’s Day after that unfortunate year of unnecessary whining.
Since that year, we have scaled it back. Way back. Meaning that we — as a couple — don’t do or give anything. We — as parents — try to make the day about Family Love, showing the boys with little activities and gifts and meals that we love them. A lot. This year they each got a book, a coloring book (SMURFS, you guys!) and their current favorite dinner — homemade fettucini alfredo with shrimp, broccoli and cheesy scones. We are taking some strawberry mini-cupcakes to the Fire Department for FireDad and his coworkers. And that’s about it. Low-key. No stress. No chocolate. No rants about the ruining of a day.
Oh, and I may have dressed them way cute today. And apparently neglected to brush their hair.
And so, Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope nothing ruined your day. I hope it was what you wanted. Ours? Just perfect.