Monday, February 13, 2012

The Little Things

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, which unless you are living under a rock in North America, you already knew.

The grocery stores, dollar stores, pharmacies, card stores, jewellers, lingerie stores, liquor stores, candy shops, and flower shops make sure you are aware of this!

While I like the idea of a day that celebrates love, I hate that like pretty much all holidays, it has become tied to consumption and materialism.  Is love really about diamonds, champagne, chocolate, flowers, and cards? No, of course not!

I also don't think that grand gestures made on specific days of the year or occasions (rose petals sprinkled everywhere, candlelight dinner on a rooftop - not possible here in February anyways!, love song serenades - my hubby's not the greatest singer..., horsedrawn carriage rides, white doves, etc) are necessary.

To me, it's the little things that are done every day that mean the most, and I think the rest of my family feels that way too.

When Adam remembers to organize the garbage/recycling/compost, fills the car with gas, and gets Big A's swim bag packed for her lesson before he goes away travelling for work, I am reminded of why he is so special: he goes out of his way to try and make things easier for me because he appreciates how difficult it is for me to manage things with the girls when I'm on my own so much.  And that's how he is all the time.  Helpful, thoughtful and caring.

On the days that I actually remember to make Adam's lunch for him to take to work the next day, he is so grateful, I think it means more to him than any bauble, trinket or gadget I can buy.  He is so tired in the evening after a long day, that he loves being able to crawl into bed even 10 minutes earlier.

A few months ago, I slipped a little love note (scribbled quickly on a folded up piece of scrap paper) into Big A's lunch bag, along with her snack for the day.  When I picked her up from daycare later on, she gushed about how much she loved the note, and how happy it made her.  I now do it for her every day.  It takes 2 seconds, it gets her to practice her reading skills (I write something different each time), and it makes her incredibly happy.

Whenever Little A is watching television (which is too often!), she asks me to come and sit with her so we can snuggle.  This is hard for me to do because (1) I am usually busy trying to get something done, and (2) I hate sitting in front of kid shows, they are so annoying!  But lately I have realized that if I can take even a 5-10 minute break, and even if I bring a few sections of the newspaper to read while I sit there and cuddle with her, it can change her whole mood.  It makes her so happy!

Last week there was an article in the paper about how the latest trend is proposal consultants - individuals you hire to help you plan and execute your marriage proposal.  Seriously?  It's not about money or over-the-top gestures.  To me this is just further evidence of our culture's distorted values.  I wonder how different the world would look if we were more concerned with being kind to each other on a regular basis instead of acquiring STUFF?

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