Wishing for a Valentine’s Day Date!

Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away! I walk into Target and see red and pink virtually everywhere, the grocery store and gas station are advertising bouquets of beautiful roses…and let’s not even discuss what Hallmark looks like. I remember trying really hard to avoid Facebook last year; so many of my friends are married, engaged, or in relationships, and almost all of them celebrate Valentine’s Day. All the candy, flowers, cards, and jewelry…while I’m very happy for my friends, I also find myself feeling just a tad jealous. See, The Hubby and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day; he feels it’s a completely commercialized, fabricated holiday and isn’t worth celebrating. We’re just making the Telefloras and Kays and Hallmarks and Russell Stovers of the world richer, he says. To a point, I completely agree with him. I mean, there shouldn’t be just one day (or two, if you count “Sweetest Day”) to celebrate love, should there? Not to mention that too much chocolate makes you fat and ruins your teeth, cards can get lost, and flowers die. But at the same time, we see so little of each other that I find myself grasping at any opportunity that presents itself for time together. Valentine’s Day is meant for bonding and love, and that’s why I miss it.

So, for today, I just want to offer up 5 different date ideas for Valentine’s Day…and in order to do any of these, Joshua would have to be on a playdate, which can be easily arranged. (Hint hint, wink wink, nudge nudge, Hubby.)

1. Lunch and a movie. We generally won’t do dinner because we like being home for Joshua’s bedtime, so lunch it is. This is also our “go-to” type of date; whenever we get out without Joshua, this is typically what we do. But I like the idea of dropping Joshua off for a playdate, picking up some lunch at a Chili’s or Olive Garden or somewhere, and going home to eat and watch a DVD. (And no, Hubs, I’m not talking about Inception or Star Trek.) Simple, cheap, us. And no cheesy boxes of chocolate involved!

2. A trip to Color Me Mine to make something for each other. I like the thought of making a gift for my husband, something he can take to work and think of me whenever he looks at or uses it. Coffee mugs are no good (Hubs doesn’t drink coffee), but a hand-painted cup to hold office supplies could work; so could a painted picture frame with a photo of us inside. The last time I was in a Color Me Mine, I saw a “cookies and milk” mug that had a cup for milk and then a smaller attached cup to hold cookies — and since Hubs loves eating Oreos and milk at night, that could be a great option, too. Maybe we could paint each other a cookies and milk mug, and then the night we pick them up we can put Joshua to bed, fill our mugs, and enjoy a snack together while watching some TV. A quieter option, but certainly viable!

3. A walk around a nearby small town or village. It’s February in New Jersey, so it’s cold outside…but why not? Being outside and walking around together is a good way to talk to each other — no sitting silently in a dark theater or shouting over crowds in a restaurant — and to get some fresh air in a new environment without having to worry about chasing after a toddler. Not to mention there’s a good chance for cuddle time if it’s really cold out! And who knows, we could end up buying gifts for each other!

4. Design and cook a meal together. Ilove cooking and baking, and Hubs rarely cooks for me — he’s usually not around at dinnertime and when he is, I’m either the one who’s cooking or we go out. In fact, the last real meal I remember him cooking for me was New Year’s Eve 2007, when we lived in our apartment and were dogsitting for friends. (He’s cooked since then, but that’s us cooking together…it’s been a long time since he’s done all the legwork by himself, at least that I can remember.) So, how to remedy that? We work out a dinner menu — appetizers, drinks, and dessert included — and pay a visit to Sur La Table or Target or somewhere, pick up all the supplies, and go home and cook together. Only catch? I’m going to make him do the dishes. I hate doing dishes.

5. Hit the slots. Where we live isn’t all that far from Atlantic City. I can definitely see us parking at one of the casinos and walking to the Tropicana (our favorite) to play some Wheel of Fortune. We always do well when playing that game, so it’s typically the first one we go for whenever we’re in Atlantic City. Plus, if the weather isn’t too bad, we could go for a walk on the boardwalk and visit the Pier Shops at Caesars or the Tanger outlets on The Walk. Maybe I could even convince Hubs to try eating at the Melting Pot or someplace other than Hooters, where we usually end up.

These dates may not seem like much, but The Hubby and I are fairly simple people. Add to that the fact that money is tight and that we have a young son, and it somewhat limits our options. These are the kinds of things that we like to do, and I’d be so happy to go on any one of these dates with him — or anything different that he might have up his sleeve. As most women do, I love receiving sparkly things from the man who loves me, so being handed a jewelry box on Valentine’s Day would be wonderful. I don’t expect it, though, and I’m okay with that. All I want is to spend time with my husband and to strengthen our bond. As I said earlier, we don’t get to see as much of each other as we’d like to, so I’ll take just about whatever I can get when it comes to dates. And no matter how commercial it may be, I want Hubs to know that he will always be my Valentine.