A short (and probably too sticky-sweet) post for Valentine’s Day

My husband, bless him, hates Valentine’s Day. He has good reasons for it: a history of girls breaking up with him on or around February 14th, his insistence that a dozen roses shouldn’t double in price for one week in the middle of February, his habit of surprising me with small gifts just because he found them (so why should he have to do it on one day in particular?).

But he knows it matters to me. I freely and generously admit that I’m the more high-maintenance of the two of us; I read a lot into holidays. So he always has presents for me (and for our daughters) at the breakfast table on Valentine’s Day. They’re frequently uber-geeky and thus perfect. Case in point: this morning’s solar-powered plant, which consists of a plastic “bowl” and two plastic sprouts that bob contentedly when placed in the sun.

I know my husband is a huge fan of Groundhog Day – the day, the movie, the name Phil, and the whole idea of trying to make some horrible mid-winter day more enjoyable by doing something extremely silly in the coldest place possible. So I usually have presents and a special dinner (involving – wait for it – sausage!) for him on the 2nd so that we can both celebrate sappy February holidays. The first year we were married we even made the drive from Pittsburgh to Punxsutawney in the wee early hours so we could be atop Gobbler’s Knob to sing “The Pennsylvania Polka” with 10,000 other Punxsutawney Phil disciples, a large percentage of whom seemed to be drunk Penn State frat boys. My feet froze. Phil saw his shadow. We found some super-kitschy souvenirs to take home. It was great.

Anyway, the short version of this story (I said it would be short, didn’t I?) is that I skipped Groundhog Day this year. I was burned out and overscheduled. I didn’t make cookies with our groundhog-shaped cookie cutter. I didn’t bother to even find our plush groundhog. And my husband was great about it. I gave him a scarf (which I’ve been working on since last Groundhog Day) and chocolate truffles and a Batman mask (don’t ask) today instead, and he was really sweet. I know he hates Valentine’s Day, and he let me celebrate it for him anyway.

What’s the most thoughtful thing someone has done for you recently?


On prolonged sabbatical from her career in arts administration, Libby is a seamstress, editor, entrepreneur, and community volunteer. She has a husband and three children.

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12 Responses

  1. Markie says:

    This fills me with joy and delight! Tell your cute man Hi for me and call me sometime (Oh, and Happy Groundhog/Valentine’s Day – your groundhog day card should be arriving in the mail today or tomorrow because that’s just how I roll)

  2. Love this story.

    I concur that Punxutawney on February 2nd is indeed the coldest place on earth.

    On the plus side, everyone here on the West Coast is way impressed that I’ve been to see Punxutawney Phil. Even if it was with a bunch of frat boys.

  3. EmilyCC says:

    What a lovely tribute!

    I have to brag because after asking Nate for 14 years to write me a love poem, guess what I’m getting for Valentine’s Day today?

  4. Em says:

    I have one of those! Mine has a pink flower that bobs. My husband got it for me, knowing I would love it. It keeps me company while I write. He also loves me enough to be vigilant about it, so when a toddler grabbed it and pulled it apart recently he tenderly rescued it and put it back together, then hid it away. Now unfortunately I don’t know where it is, but I am sure it is safe.

    My happy gift today was a giant (and I mean giant) balloon waiting for me with my valentine and caramel apple this morning. My husband and I are also angry about the cost of flowers this week, so instead he buys me a big fancy balloon, which lasts for a long time and cheers me up. This years featuers six separate hearts connected together covered in Disney princesses. I’m not necessarily in love with Disney, but I love that he found the sappiest, girliest, lovely-dovey-est balloon and got it for me. It made my month. Also my card is a pop-up and sings, but only when you press a button, not just for opening it. Like you, I love Valentine’s Day and need the pick-me up in what I believe is the worst month of the year, except maybe March which is also terrible.

  5. TopHat says:

    Having just had a baby in January, I’ve been the recipient of many meals and people offering to let my kids play at their homes. I was worried I’d be left alone with this baby, since it’s my third- people tend to go all out for first babies, but by the time you get to the third… well, you should know what you’re doing. But I’ve been more pampered this time around than ever. My husband gets a real paternity leave and we’ve gotten dinners for weeks. We just ran out of leftovers a couple of days ago and our baby is 1 month now. I need to remember to pay it forward for other families.

  6. spunky says:

    I am kinda crazy in love with my husband because of some uber massive acts of service he has done in the last few weeks. Its too complicated to explain, but rest assured, I feel very, very loved and appreciated.

  7. Rachel says:

    I have received a lot of love the last few days from people (i.e., my husband and mom) who I anticipated would show me love on my birthday and Valentines Day, but I have also received love from people who were not obligated to show me kindness in the same way. The first was from my RS President. She left my favorite treat on my doorstep, after I was highlighted in my ward’s RS newsletter, with one of the questions asking, “What is your favorite treat?”

    The second was just today, and it was a beautiful book of poetry that arrived in the mail from a lovely woman I go to school with.

  8. Heather says:

    This is all so tender. My husband does not have a romantic bone in his body. For example, we were engaged shortly before Valentine’s Day (ages ago). What did I receive? A copy of the Communist Manifesto. I smiled weakly and said, “Hey, wow, it’s RED.” But that’s who he is, and part of why I love him.

  9. Caroline says:

    Ha! I love that story, Heather. My husband and I are terrible. Gifts are just not our love language. So for Valentine’s Day, I went and bought myself some earrings. And I had my 3 year old make a Valentine’s Day card for Mike. He brought home a single red rose and a simple card. And we went to dinner. That’s it. But I love all these stories. Maybe they will inspire me to get off my duff and really do something fun for Valentine’s Day sometime.

  10. Amelia says:

    Okay, this is something nice I did but the reaction was so cute i have to share. My little sister has four little girls. And I like to send them little things in the mail because they love getting packages so much. I especially love sending the baby “auntie” t-shorts. So I sent a Valentine package w/a t-shirt for Baby that has a heart on it that says “Auntie forever” and a velour rose for each of the other girls. And I included a little valentine card. When they opened the package and saw the card, the three year old said: “I so love this card, Mommy. It means Auntie loves me.”

    That’s been making me smile all day.

  11. Kirsten says:

    My hubby is great at getting gifts just right. He was speaking at the U of Florida on Valentine’s Day — he sent me a text that morning to “go look in the top left dresser drawer”. Inside was a gift for me– the new biography of Jane Austen that I had heard about and had wanted. My teenage daughter told him that it was not a romantic gift, but he replied that, “I know your mom… she’ll love this” And he was right. Love that man…

  12. leisurelyviking says:

    The first Valentines Day we were dating, I was away at a conference and my then-boyfriend e-mailed me an over-the-top sappy love letter with all sorts of scientific references. I squealed in my hotel room reading it that morning. Every year since, he’s repeated the tradition, centering each letter around a different metaphor. He put the letters up on a private website where I can see them all together. My husband is awesome.

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