Yesterday was the easiest Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had. There was no pressure to come up with an expensive–or at least, creative–gift. There was no tedious process of going to a restaurant, saying, “Palmer, party of two, non-smoking” and then waiting 50 minutes for a table, there was absolutely no Valentine’s Day hype.
The reason? About a month ago, Rochelle asked me if I wanted to go with her to MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers). MOPS meets one Monday night a month at a local church. Each meeting, they have an activity, a speaker, and child care is provided. Seeing how this month’s MOPS meeting landed on Valentine’s Day, they decided to invite the dads to join them for barbecue and a speaker. They called it MOPS and POPS.
It was perfect. I didn’t have to do anything but show up (just like my wedding)!
Sure enough, we ate barbecue, listened to one wife tell way too many “bedroom secrets” as we watched a uncomfortable playing of “The Newlywed Game”, and listened to a couple speak about communication in marriage. The only draw back; they weren’t great communicators (Rochelle had to explain to me what they were meaning to say).
The upside of the night was the dancing. I love dancing! Well, rather I love the idea of dancing. I don’t really dance. I did last night though. First of we learned some new country dance. I wasn’t all that impressed. But next we learned how to jitterbug. Man, now that’s an aerobic exercise! Rochelle and I had seen people do it before, but never learned. We still need some practice, but I think we’ll eventually get it.
As we were leaving, I thought about how fortunate I am that Rochelle takes being Malia’s mother so seriously. Being a mother is serious business, and Rochelle is intentional about the kind of life she is creating and participating in for herself and for our daughter.
It is the great failure of our society that women who mother full-time are not more greatly rewarded. When Rochelle was working as the adolescent therapist at a mental hospital while we were living in McAllen, she was voted ‘Clinician of the Year.’ She doesn’t have to stay home–she’s got skills. She chooses to stay home so that we are afforded the opportunity to be the primary care-givers for our daughter.
So I was thinking last night about the limited nature of Valentine’s Day. What if next Valentine’s Day all of us not only expressed the love we feel toward our spouse or significant other, but also celebrated the love they give. What if Valentine’s Day became about being loved, and encouraged us to love more deeply?
Well, maybe that’s a little much for one day. Perhaps we need another day for that; another day to thank the ones around us for loving the other ones around us.
I think I could celebrate that…as long as we get to jitterbug!