My husband Curt says Valentines Day is a Halmark holiday created for the sole purpose of making money and I can't say that I disagree. Early in our marriage we felt obligated to celebrate so we'd set a small budget, buy each other traditional Valentine gifts, and go out to eat.
When we had Grant I got the noble idea of getting our photograph professionally taken to give to Curt. It sounded like a good idea at the time, but now I inwardly berate myself for setting up this tradition because coordinating outfits and attitudes times four kids is such a headache. Plus let's be honest - who, beside my husband, wants a picture of our entire family minus Curt? It just looks like something is missing. Nevertheless, this has become my gift to Curt and so each year I muster the gusto to follow through and get a photograph to replace the one from the year before.
A few years ago Curt asked me what I wanted for Valentines Day. My response surprised him. I said, "What I really want is for you to paint the bathroom." His quizzical, "REALLY?" was met with an enthusiastic "YES!" from me. Being a Get-it-done kind of guy, the kids bathroom was painted and put back together in less than 12 hours from the time I made my request. I felt so loved by Curt's act of service and by his speed in fulfilling my request and a new tradition was born. Every Valentines Day, Curt paints a room in our house for me.
This year we raised the bar and banned buying a card. We had to make a card or simply write each other a love letter. Curt wrote me a beautiful three-page love letter on legal pad paper that was so sweet it made me cry. I, being the non-crafty-person that I am, wrote in and assembled a card kit from MOPS and it actually looked similar to the sample on our table. (You can hold your applause for later).
Since I was sick over Valentines Day and Curt was busy holding down the fort, neither of us got around to our annual tradition until weeks after the fact. Two weeks ago, Curt and I worked together to give our powder room a face lift. He painted the walls and I spray painted everything in sight - my new favorite way to repurpose stuff I already have. We were both pleased with the outcome.
And yesterday, I finally got around to attempting the photos. I was going to use the self-timer, but as luck would have it, our 8-year-old neighbor was visiting so I entrusted her to be our photographer. There was one photo where we were all in the frame and I was set to use that as our "gift," until we decided to try again in the front yard. I was wrapping up photographing just the kids when an adult friend stopped by. I jumped in the photograph and VIOLA! Gift for Curt. It was fun to watch the kids yell, "Happy Valentines Day" and show him the slide show on the computer, and I enjoyed crossing "valentine pictures" off my ever-growing To Do list.