It’s the 14th February! The Day of St Valentine! And the first dance at our wedding! (on Billy Bragg’s William Bloke album for those who wish to delve deeper). All rather ironic, given that the Wave is a true cynic when it comes to this celebration of cheesetoting slush to the tune of ringing cash registers.
So imagine my surprise this morning when, for the first time ever I was not the only person in our household to offer a small annual love token and instead found 3 beautiful large origami hearts, with love notes tucked inside them, from each member of my family, guiding my route into the kitchen.
Thereafter I was charged with assisting the children in the creation of a special breakfast in bed (or, less romantically, fried egg in a heart-shaped hole within a piece of toast) for the Wave, who has recently returned from a mini break (as I call his work) in the wilds of Northsteadfordshire. Blueboy had seen the recipe in Annabel Karmel’s You Can Cook book but it was in no way a recipe for children, especially first thing in the morning. I am a half competent cook and just about struggled to a) cut a heart shaped hole in the toast b) avoid piercing the egg yolk on the sharp-edged heart-shaped hole within the toast and c) attain the combined perfection of unburnt fried toast and a thoroughly cooked egg. It took 5 gallant attempts, by which time Blue and the Dood were both screaming at me and my heart was pounding with Valentine stress.
That feeling diminished after the grand presentation au lit, only to bubble up again after 9am when school rang to tell me that Blue had been sent home (just as I was about to leave for work myself) because ‘it had not been 48 hours since his last vomit’. So I spent a second day at home with a reluctant boy, who was by now perfectly well and desperate to go to school. We spent most of our time either cuddling up on the sofa watching the curling, the ice dancing and the luge in Sochi (urging all the very gayest skaters of whatever nationality to win), making our farewell present for Family Futures (of which, alas, more next time) and trying not to be drawn into arguments about why Blue couldn’t do exactly as he wanted.
Distraction came in the form of an adorable card (for the fourth year running) and homemade Valentine’s book delivered to our door by Mara on behalf of her 8 year old daughter Flossie, Blue’s number one fan. Our Romeo responded in kind with another, slightly smaller, origami heart (and the stress of 3 failed attempts) which we delivered to Flossie’s door while she was at school, along with a tin of heart shaped sweets for his own unrequited love Queenie, for whom he silently longs in true Valentine style.
The day of love ended with the Wave and I falling asleep in front of Her, a dodgily downloaded film about a man who falls head over heels for a computer operating system. Ahhh – the spirit of romance is not dead.