A more literal way of “Sweeping You Off Your Feet”
I probably should’ve learned my lesson back in 1989 while attending junior high. Things felt less complicated in the era of stone-washed denim and hair metal, however I still always managed to orchestrate a messy situation or two for myself.
Each year just before Valentine’s Day, the Student Council would have a massive carnation sale/fundraiser. You could purchase different colored flowers for someone you might admire, attach a note and have them delivered to their homerooms on the holiday morning.
Using money I’d saved up from my weekly allowance (do kids get this anymore?), I’d sit down on my bedroom floor and divide my war chest equally, a pile devoted to each girl that I had a crush on.
There were mild subtleties included in each different note — some would contain a "XO" or a hand-crafted "heart with an arrow" and on down the line, ending with a handful that would only bear a simple smiley face.
While I thought I was being sweet and outgoing and embracing the holiday, the reality is that I never considered the fact that these little symbols of affection might be collated, analyzed and compared to one another as their recipients converged together outside of school.
What began as a sweet gesture now had me answering to a firing squad of angry teenaged girls driven by heightened emotions.
Thankfully carnations have jumped the shark in my neck of the woods, however, the messes have only gotten larger.
Early on in our marriage, my wife and I would spend a countless amount of time and energy on one another; whipping up a weekend of surprises like a hot air balloon ride over a California vineyard or great seats to an off-Broadway play.
This all happened before we had three kids under the age of seven.
These days, our holidays sometimes include a "pre-arranged agreement" or "side deal" as I sometimes call it — in which we discuss lower gift expectations for one another while making being together with the kids our prime focus.
This year, since Cupid’s arrow gets fired on a Tuesday (school schedules, extracurricular activities, etc.), I’ve committed myself to turning our kitchen and dining room into a cozy, coastal chateau.
In layman’s terms, I plan on spending several afternoon hours doing things like … the annual "emptying crumbs from the toaster" project, scrubbing melted lollipops and dried yogurt from the granite countertops with Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes with Micro-Scrubbers and sorting through piles of artwork, determining what is worth keeping and what will need to be hustled out of the house and into the trash bin under the cover of darkness.
Greasy fingerprints will be removed from the glass and hardened Play-Doh will be chipped out of the leaf that divides the table. The aquatic placemats will find a new temporary home and I’ll prepare something quantum more appealing than mac ’n’ cheese or chicken nuggets.
I’ll even forego paper plates for our good China and find silverware that doesn’t have Spiderman’s face on the handle; put the kids to bed early and even light a few candles.
Everyone has a different language for love and affection. My wife loves flowers and I enjoy a good shoulder massage now and again, but collectively, there’s no disputing that we BOTH love a clean house.
So if all goes as planned, we’ll spend this Tuesday evening eating quietly and keep our fingers crossed that everyone only needs to be put back in bed three or four times. We’ll trade smiles and maybe, just maybe, I’ll pick up a few carnations with a hand-written note, asking her to be my Valentine.
DadorAlive is a paid contributor to Clorox's SpinCycle, helping you navigate the messiness of parenthood.