Only son has spent the weekend playing Cupid. For some reason, Valentine’s Day has really caught his attention. “You will be my Valentine’s, mum,” he said on Saturday. “I will get you a present and make you breakfast.” “You what?” said daughter one. “What about me?” “You and daughter one will be my Valentines,” said only son quickly, thinking on his feet. Daughters two and three arrived. “What about us?” they said. “Don’t you love us too?” Only son said he did indeed and added them to the list. “Dad is looking a bit sad,” I said. “OK, Dad too,” he said, envisaging that this whole Valentine’s thing was getting to be a bit too much like hard work.
He spent the whole of Saturday making gifts and went to bed promising to be up early to make me breakfast. At around 7.30am, I heard the pad of feet. “I’ve done all your presents and so I can relax for a little bit and come into your bed, ” he said. He cuddled up and soon fell asleep. But not for long. He got out of bed. “I’ve got a secret cupboard in my room where your present is,” he said. “It says my name on it.” Not quite so secret then. He came back within seconds with a jar full of vanilla-scented pot pourri. The only problem was I couldn’t smell it at all as I have had a bad cold for the last week. Daughter three came in. “I’ll just go and get your present and Dad’s,” he said, running downstairs.
For daughter three he had drawn a picture of a girl looking surprised and for his Dad he had done a football drawing. Daughter two was soon up – she got a candle and a plant. He and daughter three tiptoed into daughter one’s room with her present. “Daughter one will not be quite so loving if you wake her up early on a Sunday,” I advised.
I gave only son a small token of my affection – some chocolate – and he set about making me breakfast.
My partner is not into Valentine’s or any British card-related celebration. He looks on British people’s general addiction to cards – a card for every occasion – in an affectionate yet slightly pitying way. Spanish people apparently do not need cards to tell people how they feel about them. And they definitely don’t spend their lives saying sorry, another British characteristic that he finds difficult to comprehend. “You are so into sorrys that you have an entire county named after sorry,” he has said on many an occasion. He still, after over 20 years, finds it bizarre that people meet up for a meal and then send a card to say they enjoyed the evening – or wait a week or two and then send a card to say sorry they forgot to send a card earlier.
Daughter one is also not into Valentine’s Day. She thinks it’s an event for saddos who are in thrall to capitalism. Daughter three calls it the worst day of the year because it means pressure at school to conform to the idea that she should be interested in boyfriends when she’d much rather save the world. Valentine’s Day hasn’t even penetrated daughter two’s consciousness. So we’re left with only one member of the family willing to play Cupid. He’ll need a holiday to recover.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk. Picture credit: Wikipedia.