Georgina Guedes

The Valentine's Grinch rethinks

2012-02-14 10:12

Georgina Guedes

My husband and I have never been great celebrators of Valentine’s Day. Hearts and Hallmark cards have never been our thing, and we already eat way too much chocolate. I’d rather go on a date night on just about any other night of the year (other than New Year’s), than have to put up with an overpriced and twee public testimony to love in a crowd.

I’ve also never really worn my anti-Valentine’s heart on my sleeve because it’s just so boring – the anti-celebratory sentiment has become as stultifying as the sentiment itself, like people who wittily (yawn) proclaim to resolve only to make no New Year’s resolutions.

Those who smugly announce that they make an effort to make their partners feel special 365 days of the year are as vomitously saccharine as those who wear red and white and send secret heart cards to everyone in the office.

So, I’ve quietly kept my anti-Valentine’s sentiment to myself, and my husband and I have fallen into each other’s arms at the end of a day in the romance trenches grateful not to have to make an effort, and to have shacked up with such a sensible sort. And then we go on lovely date nights when the rest of the world’s sanity has been restored and we can enjoy our night out in peace and good taste.

That is, until we had kids. Unlike other celebratory festivals like Easter or Christmas, children do not bring a whole new level of appreciation to Valentine’s. Rather, it’s what they do to the rest of your life that makes the day take on a new level of significance.

Your children reduce your soul mate to furniture – somewhere to put the baby while you pee. There’s a camaraderie in the exhaustion of raising two together, sure, but at the end of a long day, it’s all you can do to muster the energy to stay awake for 45 minutes of “us” time before collapsing into an interruptible sleep. We bolt our dinner down and watch television, secure in the fact that when these guys simmer down a little, we’ll start paying attention to our relationship again.

But, as we learnt with our first child, weeks pass easily into months and before you know it, you have a one-year-old on your hands and you no longer know the night shift boom operators on the gate into your suburb or complex. So you need something to jolt you back into the middle lane of existence, and up a gear on the romance stakes.

This year, the need for that jolt has happened to coincide rather neatly with Valentine’s Day. My husband and I had already started having those vague conversations about the seemingly insurmountable obstacles of babysitters and bedtimes, and slowly realised that with a little effort, they weren’t so insurmountable after all.

And so, feeling like we’re being wildly irresponsible, and that the limb-leadening exhaustion could present a sensible excuse not to at any point, we’ve planned a night out. Somewhere close, somewhere fast, but somewhere nice. I may or may not have managed to arrange a delivery of chocolates to his office (long story), and I will be getting my legs waxed.

But we still can’t bring ourselves to face the notion of actual Valentine’s Day with the masses, so we’ll be romancing it hard at our local gourmet pizzeria… tomorrow night.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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