It's 3:42am and I am awake. I got up about an hour ago to help Grey use the bathroom, and after lying in bed for that long thinking and feeling progressively hungrier- I decided to get up and write and eat cereal.
I was thinking about Valentine's Day.
At first, I was just thinking about Travis' and my first date, which was on January 8, 2009. I was trying to remember how long it took before we were "officially dating."
I guess it couldn't have taken long, because I know that by Valentine's Day a month later- we were in it to win it.
Travis showed up with flowers at my apartment early on Valentine's Day morning. We built a fort in the living room. A silly, semi-private space where we could make-out away from the judgey eyes of my roommates and read Harry Potter aloud to each other in silly voices.
(Obviously, Travis was being forced early in our relationship to read the HP books- since he never had. I'm glad that I forced him to read them while we were dating and he was still trying to impress me. There's no way I could get him to take on such a time-consuming endeavor now!)
In addition to flowers, Travis had also bought us matching beach cruisers. Yeah.
Just as he was trying to impress me with book-reading, I tried to impress him with pretending I could ride a bike and be happy about it.
They were the cutest little bikes though! And I loved mine, and rode it often- until I got pregnant and had an excuse to never look at a bike again.
We spent the entire day together. It must have been a weekend? And in the evening, we went to Gloria's Little Italy for dinner- followed by a concert at Velour in which our good friend performed.
I don't actually remember much from that day. I was wearing a pink dress.
I think I insisted on paying for dinner (out of guilt that Travis bought me a bike).
Travis and I were still getting to know each other, impress each other, and figure out what kind of "Valentine's Day people" we were.
Flash forward to today. Five years later.
I spent the day with girlfriends and my two children. We woke up extra early when Micah wet the bed at 6am, and I set to work making a special berry-filled, heart-shaped pancake breakfast (which totally failed and were ugly and no one would eat but me.)
I spent the morning trying to bribe my children into being cheerful by carrying around books I'd wrapped for them and periodically shouting "IF YOU CAN'T STOP WHINING, YOU DON'T GET YOUR SPECIAL VALENTINE'S PRESENT."
(It was a really rough morning.)
We played at the Dinosaur park and everyone left in tears (and spent a good deal of time there in tears.)
Our day did get slowly better, but you know. Not much. I did manage to wear a dress and a pink sweater.
Travis got home late from work, and hadn't checked his texts all day -so he hadn't stopped at the grocery store for the things I needed for dinner - but dinner time was long past.
So Travis played with our kids. Then he made us all grilled cheese, while I read the Hunger Games aloud to him.
He bathed the boys while I reclined in a very large pile of pillows and complained about pregnancy.
Together, we put the boys to bed.
Then we sat in our underwear, in our own bed, and watched the first half of Castle in the Sky - until about 9:30 when we couldn't stay awake anymore.
To be fair, we did have our Valentine's "date" on Thursday. But we were all running late and we dropped our kids off at a friend's before rushing to dinner in the rain without changing our clothes. I didn't put on makeup. Travis wore a hoodie. We gorged ourselves on Thai food, and then I decided I was too tired to go do the fun things Travis had planned, so we came home and I went to bed before 9 while he took care of our kids himself. (You're sensing a theme and beginning to judge me, aren't you?)
Valentine's Day. Sigh. It seems like a disappointment. It seems like I should be upset by the fact that I didn't get flowers. We didn't get fancy food. My son pooped his pants in public for the first time and I had to try to wash him in a public bathroom with crackily paper towels.
You know. Basic dreary stuff.
But the thing is, I don't feel disappointed. I feel really, really grateful. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for my tired husband who worked a long frustrating day at work and came home to be climbed on and wrestled with. He didn't come home to a happy, warm home full of good smells and a cheerful, patient wife. He came home to chaos and he took it in stride. He took care of us, and his only request from me was that I read aloud to him while he cooked- which is my favorite thing to do anyway.
He bathed our kids so I could rest. He helped Grey say his bedtime prayers. He got up with Micah at midnight when he came screaming into the room that he needed help peeing.
He wasn't really good and romantic and silly one night a year. He is just really good and wonderful every night of our lives. He takes care of us. He takes care of me.
And we know what kind of "Valentine's Day people" we are now, five years later. We're the kind who love each other. Who live a regular life. We sometimes have fancy, fun dates and I get dressed up and we make-out afterward.
But you know. Just whenever. Not necessarily on February fourteenth.
But I love Travis, and he is the best Valentine ever.
And now, I think I'll go snuggle with him in our warm bed and try to get some more sleep.