Love, love, love, love

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Valentine's garland

Whole-hearted cocoa shortbreads

Feel the love! I have always been pretty ambivalent about Valentine’s Day, but in my increasing years I am relieved to say that it is just another day to show, and get, some love.

Remember during the dating years, the extreme pressure to perform well on the Valentine-o-meter? My expectations were always ridiculously unachievable for all but the perfect, Cary Grant-esque, only-in-the-movies man. Of course those expectations were rarely if ever met. Due to a very unfortunate connection, I came to despise roses, so heaven help the man who ever bought me those. Chocolates were good, dinners out with wine were crucial, but part of me actually bought into the jewellery stores’ mega-advertising blitz that indicated without doubt that diamonds, or at least semi-precious stones and some gold, were the only TRUE way to show love. Oh, how little I knew.

And broken-hearted ones…

Today I sneak out to buy a few little treats for my loved ones, I bake a bunch of heart-shaped treats and I hunker down with my girls to make home-made Valentines for all. It is an excuse to hang hearts everywhere, a blitz of colour in the greyish days of February.

Now I know how a gentleman truly shows love. Sure, he remembers to hand over a homemade Valentine’s card, and maybe a nice hot cup of tea in bed early in the morning. But there are other things. He might always come to the rescue to squash an earwig every single time he is needed. He gets up every single time in the middle of the night to get the baby up and changed, and then brings her over for mama to feed. He uncomplainingly endures the vagaries of household hormonal upheaval with a grim sense that the tides WILL shift again and cheeriness will return. He embraces the girly world he lives in (even the cats are female) with gusto, while also making sure the little girls love gender-neutral stuff like Lego and geocaching. He scrapes the windshield on a freezing-cold winter day, so that when I go out, I just hop in and head to work.

Romantic love seems like the pinnacle at a certain point in life, which of course makes many single people feel like complete and total losers on Valentine’s day. Oh, I know, I have been there and I have the memories of bitterness to prove it. But you come to realize there is a whole world of love that comes along with having family, of any configuration, parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents, friends, whatever. Our daughters give us more love than I ever imagined possible. Every night Kat says to me at  bedtime, “Mama, I love you even more than you love me.” I say “Not possible!” Then I go into Ava’s room and she says “Mama, I love you all the way up to the sun and around the moon and back again.”

Wow, how lucky am I?

By the way, the garland is a fun and simple idea I got from Pinterest…just poke holes in the heart suit of playing cards and string them on a ribbon. Voilà…Valentine’s garland, free.

Oh, yes, and the cocoa shortbread recipe is in an old post…http://theminddoeswander.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/holly-days/ 

multi-grain biscuits and quince jelly

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