This is what Valentine’s Day looks like after 18 years of being together. Let me paint for you a motion picture. First of all, there is a wife who wakes up on her side of the bed, because you get to own a side when you’ve been together this long. That wife tries to disengage her arm from underneath a pillow where an appendage has grown as an offshoot from her body, literally overnight. That appendage is otherwise known as a child, and could be any random child; but usually is one under the age of seven who suffers from bad dreams and separation anxiety. There is also a husband somewhere in this picture show, look closely and you will find him settled into the cocoon otherwise known as his side of the bed, which is near the alarm and the window. That vantage point chosen for such a time as when he might have need of jumping out the window and fighting the bad guys through the night, so as to also appease said child with nightmares and the wife who would rather not get involved in any such nonsense during the only hours of the day in which she has any peace and quiet.
If this were a slide show, one might observe next in the archives a picture of said couple breezing by one another a half an hour later. One part of this couple has hair that looks like a rat’s nest, the other looks like he wishes he was still cocooned in a bundle of cozy Brunswick flannels instead of packing sandwiches his wife will inform him later on, will not be needed. The couple does not have time for cozy cuddles or lengthy exchanges as the dog needs to pee and said child with separation anxiety is hovering by the kitchen island waiting for breakfast.
There are Valentines to be exchanged, as is the routine fashion of this day of hearts. However, if you look carefully at slide three, you’ll notice that the wife’s Valentine’s for her sweet are still in a plastic Zellers bag, and the card is unsigned. She has snuck it downstairs and will retrieve and sign it when the husband goes out to fill the wood furnace. If the dog doesn’t get at it first.
Slide four allows careful view of this couple as the husband comes to the wife’s workplace to drop off a few items that have been overlooked in the morning rush. He will breeze in and then out again, as the wife trails on his heels down the hall to do a few last minute preparations of her own, before an official Valentine’s headache sets in for the remainder of the day. This headache will peak right about 11:03 a.m., at such time as the wife, who doubles as a Kindergarten teacher by day, is making dozens of intricate knots with string, so as to compete the heart art craft her students no longer have interest in finishing. She will be heading for a migraine at roughly 11:49 a.m., just before the bell rings for indoor recess. Again. For the third time this week.
The highlight of the day will be at roughly 12:35 p.m. when a cheery voice on the loudspeaker calls the wife up to the office, informing her to come right away. Thus, allowing her a quick get-away from the Valentine’s Day mayhem going on inside her classroom at the bottom of the stairs. A classroom that coincidentally happens to be in a direct line of through-way traffic to the fountain for every other child in grades K-2 who happen to be exhibiting signs of a sugar high from the fifteen cupcakes they ate for snack. The wife, in this afore-mentioned duo, will be forever grateful for the flowers that are waiting for her on the office counter, but wishes her thoughtful husband might have been so kind as to include a bottle of Tylenol, extra-strength. Next time…
There are a few other obscure slides in between, of which there might be some screaming at the kids and the dog, and a bit of nagging a certain someone to set the table and make the coffee. And a bit of hair-raising as the kids go about their after-school activities. I won’t bore you to death with the details.
There is a pretty sweet slide towards the end, in which a very romantic dinner for six is being served around a over-sized, birch table. The children are laughing and opening Valentine’s Day cards, and the husband and wife are exchanging pleasantries with one another, over six feet of space that separates his end, from her end. The supper will be forgotten (a store-bought pizza and a salad that one of the kids referred to as “a bunch of vegetables in a bowl”), the gifts will be used and eaten, the cards will find a permanent home in a memory box, but the memories will last a lifetime.
There may not be pretty pictures on every slide, but it is sure to be captivating, full of vivid imagery and detail. It is a slide show for the record books. This is what Valentine’s Day looks like after eighteen years.