Valentine’s Day has never been a big holiday between my wife and me. We met while we both worked in the bar industry and that experience, like for most of those who have worked that side of the bar, makes Hallmark type holidays a pain in the patoot. We have exchanged cards, made each other dinner, maybe flowers, but for the most part, it comes and goes with little fanfare. Perhaps to the chagrin of my wife, perhaps not.
As we’ve had daughters, the holiday is growing in importance in my household. Three little girls means that candy hearts and red clad stuffed animals have now intruded on my calm, barely noticed holiday. Times they are a changing. We have gone from store bought Valentines for the classroom bearing the copyrighted faces of Disney princesses or My Little Pony to hand cut hand decorated cards with affixed candy and individualized handwritten notes. Fair enough. We can handle that. The girls wanted to get dolled up in all red and pink and have their hair just so, sure, no problem. It wasn’t until our Valentine’s Day dinner (which wound up being comfort food) that the reality of my evolving Valentines Days truly took hold of me. The girls were happily showing me the quarry they had received from their classmates and I made jokes about some of the boys in the class. Much like the rest of their personalities, each of my girls approach boys differently.
Avery, my oldest, chooses friends very carefully. She opts for a few great friends instead of hordes of acquaintances. Sure it makes birthday parties a little smaller, but it really works for her. Boys seem to be the same. She has talked about a boy or two over the last four years. Few enough that my wife and I were relatively unsure if she has noticed them at all. The person who eventually wins her heart, hopefully twenty years from now, they will have been severely vetted but will find themselves with someone loyal to a fault.
Macy, my middle is the opposite. She is a friend of all. She believes in close friends, distant friends, and four legged friends and on and on and on. Her view of boys is very similar to Avery’s in the sense that she doesn’t seem to notice that they are boys. To Macy, they are people, people that help fill her quota of hangers-on. This point of view has made her very popular with the young men in her class, that and her love of Star Wars, skateboarding and the fact that she can out rollerblade the lot of them. She gets invited to every kid's birthday party, boys and girls alike. It isn’t rare that she is the lone girl invited to a boy classmate’s special day. The series of people who believe they have won her heart will be long and each of them will be left confused as to what went wrong.
And then there’s Darby, my youngest. Sweet little Darby. My one child that I can count onto actively think boys are all cootie carrying dorks who merit zero time and consideration. At least she is the one I thought I could count on.
As the girls were looking through their Valentines over dinner, Darby retrieved on from her bag and hugged it close to her chest. I asked her what it was and she sang “It’s from Daaaaavvvviiiidddd…” (The name of the young man has been changed to help me forget it) She smiled, and blushed a little and continued “…I’m going to maaaaaarrrryyyy himmmmm”. She then started giggling, her glance not leaving mine.
And that was it. My last hope of one eternal child has officially moved on. My youngest has noticed boys. It is officially time to dry wall my garage and get a TV out there. The balance of power, testosterone to estrogen has officially swung to the feminine. My proverbial goose….is cooked.
The lesson here girls, is more of a cry for help. Truthfully, young ladies, I hope each of you finds someone to make you happy and help you get to where you want to be in life. Speaking honestly, though, that person can look really different to a lot of people. I was lucky enough to marry my best friend and someone who pushes me to be a better version of myself (succeeding in that endeavor at least 17% of the time). Some people find happiness in themselves or surrounding themselves with close friends. It’s all okay, in all shapes and forms, so long as you are happy. Daddy will joke about the person you date, telling you that you are too good for them, and he will do that always. The fact is that you will never find someone who is good enough for you in my eyes, but if they make you happy, that’s good enough. All of that being said, you aren’t allowed to read this rant until you are thirty, and then it’s perfectly acceptable to start thinking about considering dating.