Yesterday morning as I got Caroline ready for school, I told her, “Tonight we’re going to have a special family Valentine’s dinner and there might even be a present!” She said, “Okay, but I thought I usually get my Valentine’s presents in the morning.”
Yes. Yes, you do. But only when Mama actually remembers that it’s Valentine’s Day.
I should have remembered. I spent a good portion of our weekend helping her make homemade cards for all her classmates while practicing the art of glitter management. Which is just a fancy way of saying I tried to limit the spread of glitter to one small patch of the dining room. Although based on the fact I just walked to the kitchen for a glass of water and came back with a bedazzled foot, I may have failed at my task.
But I procrastinated on a Valentine’s gift all last week and, thus, had to make a run to Target before attending Caroline’s class party later in the afternoon. I secured a gift and made a quick swing through the Whataburger drive-thru line because I was in need of lunch before all the cupcakes. The girl at the window informed me it’s FREE JALAPENO WEEK at Whataburger and asked if I’d like my jalapeno on the side or on my burger. It seemed like too much to think about and so I made the decision to forgo my free jalapeno. And, may I just say that FREE JALAPENO WEEK seems like kind of a lame marketing strategy.
Once I arrived at the class party, I helped set up the tables and the party craft. All of Caroline’s classmates began to file back in the room after recess and I was immediately greeted by my child and a little girl I’ll call Mabel. Mabel wrote Caroline a Valentine’s letter that read, “Dear Caroline, You are a nice friend that is wite” which is ironic because Caroline just asked last week if we could please adopt a kid with dark skin so she’d have someone in the family that looks like her. Apparently the fact she tans well has caused some racial confusion.
Anyway, Mabel also told me, “I really like the way you talk. It sounds like a cowgirl.” In other words, MA’AM, YOU SOUND LIKE A COUNTRY BUMPKIN. It made me so happy.
I decided it might be fun to cook breakfast for dinner and make heart-shaped pancakes because I am nothing if not a culinary optimist. You’d think the Gingerbread Man Pancake Fiasco of Christmas 2009 would have made me own my inability to properly cook pancakes in a specific shape. But you would be wrong.
(On a total tangent-y sidenote, the mention of heart-shaped pancakes reminds me of the time in college when one of my roommates decided to make a Valentine’s Day gift basket for her boyfriend. She put in things like a mix CD, a new t-shirt, and a pack of his favorite gum or whatever. And, last but not least, she lovingly made a giant Rice Krispie treat in the shape of a heart and wrapped it in foil. She came home later and told us that he named each item as he took it out of the basket. “A pack of gum, a t-shirt, a CD…” and when he pulled out the foil-wrapped Rice Krispie treat, he said, “A big pork chop”. I think about it every Valentine’s Day and laugh because, seriously, a pork chop.)
The first error of dinner occurred when I looked in the refrigerator and discovered I only had three eggs left in the carton. That’s the kind of thing that tends to put a damper on a dinner consisting of eggs, sausage and pancakes. So I headed to HEB to procure more eggs. Like I told Gulley on the phone on my way there, nothing says I HAVE HOT VALENTINE’S DAY PLANS like a trip to HEB at 6:00 p.m. to buy a dozen eggs and some cake flour while wearing a pair of faded yoga pants and an Old Navy t-shirt that reads “St. Patrick’s Day 2003”.
But eventually I managed to make at least two out of six pancakes look remotely like hearts. And P cut me some slack and said he’d be content with just average round pancakes.
And, let’s be honest, that’s what real romance looks like.
We had a great time, drank milk out of the crystal stemware I only use once every three years, and laughed a lot. Or maybe just P and Caroline laughed at me. Especially when I asked her if someone played the guitar during worship at Sunday School or if they played the music on a tape player.
A tape player.
Yes, they magically transport all the children back to 1985 each Sunday and play Petra songs on the tape player.
If that church existed, I would totally go.