I have this thing where I go back and forth on my feelings about Valentine’s Day. Part of me wants my husband to be über romantic and self-plan a luxurious and thoughtful outing for just the two of us, including securing the babysitter. The other part of me realizes that our life is at times so crazy that trying to stop and be über romantic on that one night might resemble a 90 mph head-on collision with disaster.

Our current season of life (kids ages 3-15 and super broke, financially) means that most of our dates include attending matinees at our favorite movie theater and checking out area thrift stores. Not exactly a romantic comedy.

So as I stroll the Valentine’s Day aisles at Target I must remind myself that there are different seasons of Valentine’s Days, as well.

When I was single, I remember buying myself and my widowed mother boxes of chocolate and heart-shaped pizza to enjoy together, sometimes in front of rented movies. It was simple and fun and recognized that there was something going on in the rest of the country, a way to not miss out on the array of heart-shaped treats. We were able to make it our own and enjoy it in our own way.

My husband and I only started dating a couple of weeks before Valentine’s Day, so we didn’t really have an opportunity to celebrate it in that particular season. But I imagine that if we had, I would have gotten dolled up and we would have gone out on the town. We’d have stopped at three different restaurants: one for a delectable pre-dinner appetizer, one for a mouthwatering dinner, and then a finish it up with a stop somewhere for an amazing dessert. We’d be able to reflect on not only our current relationship, but where we saw it going in the months or years to come.

I often (and I really mean often) think about our life post-children. What will we do with our time? How will we keep the romance alive?

I got a glimpse of it a few weeks ago, when my husband and I were driving, alone, through a small town one afternoon. On a whim I said, “Let’s stop and walk their cute downtown!” As we spent the next few hours walking up and down the streets of the small town, checking out the local small businesses, we also got a chance to talk and reconnect.

Although it wasn’t a “romantic getaway,” our time spent exploring little shops selling house decor, a cute small-town bookstore and several antique shops was a reminder to us of how much we enjoy spending time together.

We have lost a lot of our spontaneity over the years, but I’m hoping that we can push ourselves to reclaim it.

How will you be spending your Valentine’s Day this year? We’d love to hear some of your suggestions in the comments below!

Esther Aspling

Author Esther Aspling

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