I will never forget the very first Valentine’s Day I spent with my husband (then boyfriend). It was 1999, and we spent a long weekend with two other couple friends at a cozy casino resort in the Northeast. During the day, we girls spent our time getting massages and pedicures while the boys drank beer and gambled in the casino. At night, we had lavish dinners and drank plenty of champagne. It couldn’t have been more romantic. To top it all off, I was gifted with a beautiful diamond pendant necklace. It was perfection.
Fifteen years and three kids later, my wish list is a bit simpler. Would I like to re-create the sort of blissful romance I had in years past? Of course. But, my priorities have definitely changed with the two new little loves of my life. Nowadays, I consider it to be a true gift if I am able to use the bathroom without a kid trying to jump on my head at the same time. So, for this year, I present this fantasy list of six things I want for Valentine’s Day that don’t cost a thing:
1. A sleep-in.
You know when a mommy friend posts on Facebook that she was able to “sleep-in” until eight A.M.? Well, I am not talking about that kind. My version of a sleep-in is one that I vaguely recall from my single years after a long night out. It is the type of sleep-in that I used to have after falling into bed face first, with a full make-up on, and ringing ears. This sleep-in entitles me to an uninterrupted slumber, with a mind at rest and completely oblivious to anything else going on in the world. There will be no tiny tyrants pounding on my door as my husband has taken them to the park (or Mars, I have no real preference) for the entire day. When I do awake, I will be so blissfully out of it I will not even be aware of what day of the week it is.
2. A bubble bath.
I am not really a big bath person to begin with. If I am blessed enough to get a three minute shower on a given day, I consider myself lucky. However, there is something so appealing about this bubble bath business! I would love try it. I am fascinated by those scenes in the movies where the woman is surrounded by lit candles, while noshing on strawberries and drinking champagne. I would love to know what it is like to soak in a tub sans baby toys or whatever mystery items my kids happened to throw in there that day. In fact, I don’t even need the strawberries. I can go straight to the champagne.
3. A stroll outside in the real world.
Alone. My memory may be fading at my old age, but I do remember a time when I used to wander out in the fresh air without pushing a stroller or dragging a kid by the hand in the midst of her tantrum. Nowadays, I only venture out alone if there if I need to make an emergency trip to the store for milk at 10 PM. Or maybe when I go for my annual OBGYN appointment. From what I recall, it is a very relaxing practice. I picture myself walking at a lovely pace with the only noise being that of the happy chirping birds. I can wander in the nail salon for a manicure. Or possibly stop on a park bench and relax with a little book. I can even drop in the nearest bar for a beer. Or five. On this day, the possibilities are indeed endless.
4. A movie. Uninterrupted.
My husband and I used to enjoy going to the movies. Nowadays, I definitely consider it sort of a time waster. When I am at the movies, I can’t help to run through my mental “to do” list and feel guilty about all the other ways my time could be better spent. For this wish, I do not even have to be in a movie theater. I would, however, love to know what it is like to enjoy a DVD without a child asking for a snack fifty times or needing company for a trip to the bathroom (my daughter says there are strange noises in there sometimes). With these past interruptions, I can hardly remember the movie’s name; let alone what is going on. If I get my wish, I can actually keep up with the plot! And make it till the ending!
5. A night out with girlfriends.
Every month I try to go out with mommy friends. It is not only enjoyable but much needed. However, I want to kick this one up a notch. Instead of enjoy a glass (or two) of wine while discussing potty training habits, I would love to do an all nighter. The kind of night I used to have when in my youth. When I had energy and didn’t feel like falling into bed at 8 PM. We would go bar hopping, maybe followed by a late night trip to the diner at 4 A.M. There would be a lot of laughter. Followed by another sleep-in, of course.
6. A handmade Valentine from my kiddies.
For my husband and me, money is tight. With the financial challenges of raising two kids in a big city, I don’t expect much. I don’t even need my husband to bring me home flowers. Recently, I went through an old box of keepsakes and found a handmade birthday card that I made for my own dad. It was precious. When looking at it, I couldn’t help but understand why my mom kept it for so many years. From my own kids, I would love the same. Just a little sweet token that they love this old lady. As I love them. They do make my two newest grey hairs worth it. For all my mom’s around the world, I wish the same: a Valentine’s Day filled with love, happiness, and an early bedtime.
(Image: getty images)