Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Monday, February 14, 2005


  The Best Valentines Gift EVER! Part 1--The Game

OK, I admit it. What used to be one of my favorite days of the year has, over the years, become something else entirely. I'll stop short of saying that it's a disappointment. I actually enjoy Valentine's Day, and all that it represents--whether I feel like I'm anyone's Valentine or not. I enjoy figuring out with my children what to do for THEIR valentines. I enjoy figuring out what special treat to bestow on MY valentines. And over the years, I have to set my Valentine's Day "satisfaction bar" increasingly lower and lower to accommodate the lack of Valentine's Day spirit of those for whom I attempt to make the day special. Sadly, what I "expect" on Valentine's Day is pretty minimal. In fact, I don't expect anything. And then what I DO get is always a welcome surprise!

It hasn't always been like this. Growing up, I was always SOMEONE'S valentine. There was always at least one guy or one friend who would make my Valentine's Day special. And until I got married, my parents always made sure that I got my Whitman's Chocolates and big bag of Red Hots I love so much. To this day, ANYTHING sugary/cinnamony screams "Your Daddy Loves You". Odd. I know. But it's just the way it is.

In college, it became a sorority house joke to open up the school newspaper and see if I had more $5 Valentine ads bought for me than any of the other girls on campus. Some Valentines were elusive and only hinted at the identity of the person for whom their valentine was meant. The girls would say, "Yep. I think that's supposed to be you". I would say, "No, I don't think so". But late at night, when nobody was around, I would cut out all of the Valentines that I knew were meant for me (including those that I had denied earlier), place them in my scrapbook and go to sleep knowing that there were lots of folks out there who thought I was pretty special.

Once I was out in the working world, every Valentine's Day brought some kind of special surprise. Most Valentine's Days brought roses to my desk or chocolates to my doorstep. Some women think that these sorts of gifts are passe'. Not me. Having a dozen BEAUTIFUL long-stemmed roses with baby's breath delivered to someone's desk on Valentine's Day takes forethought, effort, and cash. Have you ever tried to call a florist on Valentine's Day to have roses delivered? Or even the day BEFORE Valentine's. If so? 'Nuff said. Some Valentine's Days brought surprise trips, romantic dinners, and gifts of a more personal nature. But I can't remember a single Valentine's Day where I felt unloved. Or lonely. Until I got married.

Now, don't misunderstand--Hubby was GREAT at making sure that Valentine's Day was special when we were dating. And even for a year or two after we got married. But somewhere along the way, the roses, Cumming's chocolates and romantic dinners gave way to me cooking dinner for everyone, me making a special treat for dessert, me finding the perfect, sweet Valentine gift that said "I Love You" to my three men, and me cleaning the kitchen while everyone else went off to bed. Not to sound even MORE like the Princess and the Pea than I already do, but I distinctly remember that the last box of chocolates I got for Valentine's Day was a box that had been given to Hubby as a "thank you" for speaking to some group a few days before. He opened the box, gave a few pieces to our boys and me, and then the box disappeared. Forever.

The last few years, Hubby has managed to swing by Smith's before Valentine's dinner and grab a dozen of those roses the grocery store always keeps in the cannister by the cash register for "last minute shoppers". And I have treated those roses with the same care as I always did the really beautiful ones he USED to send me, 'cause at this point, I figured THAT was about as good as it was going to get. And grocery store roses were certainly better than nothing.

Over the years, I have decided that all of those years of being the girl with the roses, and chocolates, and trips and numerous potential suitors had finally caught up with me. I was destined to spend the rest of my days making the day special for other people. And that was fine. I had my day in the sun. And now it was someone else's turn.

So as I worked last night, putting the boy's Valentine's together for their school friends and teachers, thoughts of what I would be getting for Valentine's this year never crossed my mind. When Son 1 finished cutting out his hearts and writing his messages to his classmates, I sent him off to relax in his room while I glued the heart-shaped candies into the centers of his cards.

As I sat in the chair, Hubby came upstairs and started talking to Son 1 about cleaning up his room (which is littered from stem to stern with Lego's, beads, games and dozens of tapes from his numerous "Books on Tape" collections that he plays constantly in his room. Yes, I fear he may be a mutant--but I'll take "Harry Potter--Year Five" over "Britney Spears" any day...). And over the course of his conversation with our Son, he let it slip what my Valentine's present would be this year.

Was Hubby considering it my Valentine's present? I don't know. But I gotta tell you... what I am getting this year from my husband just may be the best Valentine's present EVER! EVER, I say.

So... Opiate Poppy gave me an idea the other day on another post and I thought we'd try it here.

1). First, You tell me what you think the best Valentine's present Hubby could give me is. And then
2). Second, you tell me what the best Valentine's present YOU could ever receive would be.

(Gosh, now that I read this, it sounds an awful lot like Scarlet Poppy, too! Geez, Scarlet--am I morphing into a long-winded, less clever version of you? Never fear--'tis certain that this, like all good things, shall pass. LOL!)

I'll give you the rest of this post--complete with the answer to The Best Valentine's Day present EVER--tomorrow.

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