Today is Valentine’s Day. My only real excitement on February 14 lies in waking to squeals of delight from my children upon finding the treats I left out for them the night before. This morning, my daughter was particularly excited by the Peppa Pig Beanie Baby I got for her, which brought a big smile to my face because I totally knew I hit the jackpot when I found it in the card store. Apparently, pigs with British accents are all the rage for toddlers nowadays.
The kids’ enthusiasm wore off after about ten minutes (it isn’t exactly Christmas, you know), and then my husband and I exchanged our own treats. After seven years of marriage, I’ve come to expect very little on these cheesy Hallmark Holidays. I find that it successfully avoids unnecessary disappointment and marital arguments. He handed me his classic Valentine’s Day safety net trifecta of roses/card/candy, and I forked over my own card for him. Kiss, kiss, Happy Valentine’s Day, and back to the regular daily routine.
I had to laugh a few minutes later when we were watching the morning news and they were doing a segment on making last minute V-Day gifts look like they were planned out for weeks. The last line of the piece read: “and whatever you do, avoid that cheesy drugstore flowers and candy combo!” To which we both laughed and I added “unless you’ve been married for seven years.”
My husband has never been a big gift-giver or an over-the-top romantic. He proposed to me in the car while driving on the highway, saying “so I was talking to my aunt and she thinks that, since you’re pregnant, maybe we should just get married.” I cried immediately, obviously not because I was so moved by his gesture. And I cried all the way to our dreamy City Hall wedding a few weeks later.
But I don’t blame him. Failed birth control combined with the need for better health insurance never does create the perfect environment for romance. But he set the bar pretty low from the start, and I have learned that the whole mushy-gushy, sweep-her-off-her feet shit just isn’t a requirement, and its absence does not a bad marriage make.
While my little less-than-fairytale romance isn’t exactly one for the books, I’m 100% sure I’m not the only wife who doesn’t bother with high hopes on most gift-giving occasions. Even those who didn’t exchange vows in the same building where ex-cons go to have their urine tested for drugs.
But here’s the thing: since so many married wives have low expectations on Valentine’s Day, it at least gives their husbands an opportunity to catch them off guard by doing something seriously sweet once in a while. I think that, sometimes, guys should toss their “better than nothing” flowers and candy out the window of the same car they proposed in, and do something extra special for the special ladies in their lives. And really, they don’t even have to think that far outside of the box to do it.
Thus I present to you my five, fantastic, WAYYY-better-than-nothing gifts for wives on Valentine’s Day. If there are actually any guys who read my blog, be prepared to slap yourself in the head, coulda-had-a-V8-style, for not thinking of these nifty gifties on your own.
Jewelry. It’s expensive, so I think husbands like to avoid it because they can get away with their wife thinking “oh we can’t afford that right now”. But no one’s telling you to hit her with a diamond from Tiffany’s. It’s 2015, and the timeless gift of jewelry comes in all sizes, shapes, and price tags. From crystal to silver to cubic-Z: it’s ALL better than nothing.
Lingerie. You would expect this type of gift when you first start dating, but it does seem like the last thing a married mother could ever want. Right? Wrong. Think about it. Receiving that type of gift from a husband shows that, after all these years, he still sees his wife as being just as sexy as she was when they were first dating. It’s pretty flattering. She’ll feel like maybe, just maybe, she doesn’t look so bad for a married mom after all. Plus, it might be something extra to look forward to on Valentine’s NIGHT. Wink wink.
Wine or champaign. I mean, if he’s going for an edible gift, it shouldn’t be a gigantic box full of little chocolate regrets. In fact, if you pair some bubbly with #2 on my list, it’s really one hell of a win/win.
Dinner. Either cook it, order it, or take her out for it. Whatever happens, just make sure she doesn’t have to deal with it for at least one night. And for pete’s sake, do the damn dishes after it’s done. And if there’s time, feel free to also sweep, mop, dust, do the laundry, make the beds, scrub the toilets, and clean out the fridge while you’re at it.
Be an even better Dad than usual. There is so much joy in seeing a father make his kids feel special– when he spends time with them, plays with them, shows them how important they are. So on Valentine’s Day, go the extra mile for the kids, too. Take them out to lunch, make a card for Mom together, maybe even pick up a special gift for them too. They’re the littlest Valentines, after all. And honestly, that’s probably one of the most romantic things a man can do for his wife. Because there is NOTHING sexier than a really, really good dad.