Valentine

The Next Family

By: Tanya Ward Goodman

valentines day dinner

For Valentine’s Day this year, my husband proposed that we have a romantic dinner after the kids went to bed and the first thing that went through my head was “You mean I have to cook two dinners?”

His light seemed dimmed, but not entirely diminished and so I tried to push away my pragmatic thoughts and think about the possibility of staying awake past eight o’clock.

It’s true. It’s all terribly true.

Our romance is not dead, just sleepy.

My husband seasoned steaks. I let the wine breathe while the kids brushed their teeth. Though I’d served my daughter her favorite meal of chicken and artichokes, she was disturbed to find that we would dine without her.

“Aren’t I your Valentine?” she demanded.

“I love you,” I said. “But I’m married to your dad.”

“It’s unfair,” she said.

“It’s what it is,” I said.

“I love you and goodnight,” my husband said.

My son was too grossed out by the thought that his parents might kiss to even bother getting out of bed.

“Goodnight,” he shouted from his room.

“Goodnight,” my daughter whimpered.

But soon she was asleep.

We lowered the lights and switched on a little Ella Fitzgerald. The steaks made a glorious sizzle and we exchanged the news of the day without interruption. It was really, really nice.

We were not co-parents or co-signers or co-workers (though we are often all three), we were just two people in love.

I am in love with my husband and I love my kids. The love is strong on both counts, but it is good to be reminded of the difference.

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