Last night I switched on the television for a few minutes of reality show down-time and up popped an image of a sparkling woman and her shiningly handsome man standing in front of a very romantic architectural structure. She wore clean, pressed clothes. Her hair was done. Her lips were painted a deep red.
Mr. Model tilted his head back and stared adoringly into her eyes. Got down on his knee and pulled out a small box from his suit pocket. He whispered something romantic; she swooned. Then he popped open that little black box and the clouds parted and the angels sang. A diamond the size of my left hand filled the television screen.
I started to laugh, the sound erupting from that manic part of my body that I tap into from time to time when I´ve had too much coffee and too little sleep. Before I knew it, I was clutching my stomach with one hand and dialing my best friend´s phone number with the other. "She wants diamonds," I stuttered, and my best friend, who is also a mother, began to laugh along with me.
At one time in my young life, I thought that this would be the ultimate Valentine´s Day: Standing in a foreign country with a man who wanted nothing more than to give me fantastic and expensive jewelry while telling me just how awesome I was.
Now all I want is a quiet, romantic dinner with my husband.
I want to wear a stain-free shirt and shoes with heels.
I want to go to a restaurant that doesn´t have a buffet, an eat-at counter, paper placemats, or all you can eat specials.
I want to eat an entire meal without having to snatch a bowl of flying peas out of the air before they land against what used to be my white dining room wall.
I want to chew my food before I swallow.
Afterwards, I want to sit still for so long that my food has time to digest.
Don´t get me wrong: Diamonds are nice, as are foreign countries. Yet now that I have a daughter, these two gifts just don´t interest me as they once did.
Valentine´s Day: A big plate of food that someone else buys, prepares, and serves on dishes that I do not have to wash or catch in the air.
Now that´s romance.