Yesterday, for some reason still unknown to me, I began to itch like crazy. My neck, the sides of my face, my ears, the backs of my ears where my glasses rest... this entire area had some crazy reaction to something. Despite changing my clothes and pulling my hair up, the itching came and went all afternoon. It was driving me nuts. Add a demanding almost-five year old to the deal and there were a couple times I thought my head would come off completely. My littlest sweetheart didn't really feel like listening to Mama was such a hot idea and I was beginning to feel a bit, well, insane, as evidenced by the following email sent to a very good friend:
"Are you sure we are anti-spanking? I mean, like, really, really sure? I have the most disobedient, unpleasant little person with me right now and I'm thinking that his right to the pursuit of happiness isn't supposed to trespass on the my maternal right to Preserve Sanity."
My good, sweet friend actually took time to make a sympathy call, never mind that she has two little guys of her own. She didn't tell me to go suck it up, she didn't tell me how much 'easier' I had it and why was I complaining, which she totally could have. Instead, she made me laugh for a minute and feel like I was not alone in this storm-tossed dinghy adrift on The High Seas of Parenting. She was in the next dinghy, waving in friendship and mouthing "yeah, they are the living end, aren't they?" and not making me feel bad about it.
That, in and of itself, is a valentine of sorts right there. And girlfriend, if you are reading this, it made me feel a whole lot better. Thank you.
But I still itched. And itched. And itched.
I washed all the clothes I had worn (and still have another pile to be washed on hot, just in case). I carefully hand-washed a beautiful painted silk scarf that another friend had her artist sister make especially for me. The dragonflies on it make me smile, still. It's the best scarf ever and I am praying I am not allergic to silk because other scarves make me itch. This one hasn't yet. I've got an overnight trip with this friend in a month, to visit two friends who live out in beautiful Beavercreek. As I washed the scarf, I thought about all of these friends and the lasagna I want to make to take out there and how much fun we will have, sitting around the fire and talking about planting gardens, playing with their dogs and walking the property in rain or sunshine. A valentine just a month away. A valentine moment to look forward to.
The rest of the evening progressed without too many hitches, except the itches, and eventually Kiddo was asleep. Joe and I were lounging in bed, watching "An Idiot Abroad" and suddenly my neck felt burning hot. Joe said it was really red. And then he did a lovely thing. He put his jeans and boots back on, got the car back out of the garage and went to the store to buy me some Benadryl.
Blessed man. Spare me the chocolates, the candies and hearts-- this was the best Valentine he could have ever given me. Itch relief. He could have told me just to use the topical spray or to shut up about it already, but he didn't. And this is what I noticed, what I love about the guy... sometimes, the details slip by him, but the important stuff--he's there. He was sweet enough to see that I was on the verge of losing my mind and possibly not sleeping, and he took care of it. No complaints, no "I'm so awesome, right?", just a sweet, kind and very thoughtful offer to go to the store and help me feel better.
I knew that this year, like the other years since we've had Kiddo, Valentine's Day was going to be more low-key... a card of appreciation, hugs and kisses, and that's that. No fancy dinner expected-- besides the total rip-off of prix fix restaurant dinners, babysitters have homework on Valentine's Evening, or they want to be with their own friends. A meal out is not expected at this point, and it is more conveniently managed during the weekends anyway. I wasn't expecting much when I came downstairs this morning, but a card was waiting for me at the table. On it, a donkey, saying "If loving you is a crime...."(open card to see now-grinning donkey) "...then throw my happy ass in jail." Whatta guy. Really. He gets me Benadryl, he makes me laugh, he is cool about my going away for a weekend...
So for today, I'm going to try to remember this for next year-- I get lots of valentines from special people in my life. Loads of them. There is love and care in their actions and words, kindness and humor in what they offer. Not for just one day, but every day. I hope to be more aware of this, and to celebrate it-- even if only to myself--when those moments happen. I am fortunate to have so many awesome people in my life, each of them makes my life better in their own way. February 14th doesn't have sole ownership of Valentine's Day---it can feel like it happens more often, if we stay aware of loving and being loved. Nice for a holiday to help me remember what I already know.... besides a few itches, life is pretty good.