So. It is Valentine’s Day. And I’ve never quite decided whether I’ma big Valentine’s Day person or not. The girls are excited though. The big girls have spent oodles of time over the past week making Valentines for their friends and teachers. Big Girl made heart-speckled hedgehogs. Middle Girl went with scratch-and-sniff Popsicle cards. We will have a Valentine-y breakfast this morning before school if we get our act together. Tonight, Husband and I will go out for an early dinner in the neighborhood. We won’t be able to eat much of anything because we are still doing this silly cleanse, but I’m sure it will be nice.
I have some fun Valentine’s memories. When I was a girl, Mom and Dad and my sisters and I would all get each other Valentine’s things. There was often a fair bit of chocolate involved. I remember one year I ate seven Godivas and I was so mad at myself. I remember getting bags of red-hots from Mom, which I loved. I remember Dad giving us girls cards that were totally inappropriate, cards for lovers to give each other, and Dad didn’t even realize. He would just write: Love, Dad. I remember Husband cooking dinner on our first Valentine’s Day together, mere months after we met. I was just 23, all youthful blonde bluster and I sat there drinking my wine as he made pesto pasta and crab cakes and chocolate fondue for dessert. Probably the tastiest meal I’ve eaten in my life. I remember looking at him, even at that very early point, and thinking: I love this guy.
Love. I’ve been thinking a lot, a lot, about love these days. I’ve been thinking about how much love and life are intertwined, or should be. I’ve been thinking about how I feel so much love these days – love for and from my girls, my man, my family and friends and colleagues. Somehow, someway, I’ve stumbled into this life, this messy and exquisite life of writing and wondering and mothering and meandering that I love. Not a day goes by where I don’t feel grateful for this, for this life I have.
But here’s the thing: I’m exhausted. I’m overwhelmed. Anxious from time to time, I know, I know, cry me a river. I have a full and wonderful and tiring existence. I know this is not a tragedy. Not in the slightest. But I do feel stretched and scattered and sometimes like I am barely keeping up. There are moments when I wonder whether I am being the best mom I can be, the best writer I can be, etc. There are moments when I feel deep doubt, fear, uncertainty, loneliness, longing. There are moments. Each night comes and I am thrilled to pull on the sweatpants and settle in on the couch for a smidge of TV with my man, but each night I think also about all the things I wish I could have done that day. Activities I wish I could have done with the girls. Pages I wish I could have written. Questions I wish I could have asked. There aren’t enough hours. There never are. There never will be.
So. I don’t know where I am going with this, but for me that is often the best sign. A sign that I am being me, processing, getting somewhere. Where is somewhere? Isn’t that always the question? Isn’t that what makes life interesting and worth it, that we are headed places we’ve never been? Places that are good and beautiful. Real.
This place. This blog. I can’t explain it, but I will try. I’ve been here for almost four years and that fact startles me because it feels like just yesterday that I was sitting in my hunter green study in my old apartment, brainstorming a title for this blog while Big Girl (then 2) and Middle Girl (then only 5 months!) crooned in the background. I came up with the title Ivy League Insecurities because, yes, I am an Ivy League grad and I think back then that was a much bigger part of my identity than it is now. Insecurities because I had them. So many of them. And I still do. I still do. (Don’t we all?)
Today. Today I could have whipped up a love letter to my man or to my girls. As you know, I enjoy doing that here. I could have mused on what these creatures mean to me, how they have made me happier than anything else in the world, how they have filled my life with the sweetest breed of purpose and chaos and devotion. But instead. Instead I wanted to address you guys.
You, in your pinstriped suit on your lunch break at your desk in a skyscraper somewhere in the morass of midtown. You, in your yoga pants, sipping your coffee while your kids destroy your living room. You, a real life friend or family member whom I don’t get to see enough. You, taking a break from writing that article or blog post or manuscript to come here. You.
You guys matter to me. The fact that you are reading my words matters to me. The fact that you can relate matters. All of this matters. A lot. So, thank you. I would slip each of you seven Godivas through the screen if I could, but these words will have to do. I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day filled with lots of love and lots of life.
How do you plan to spend this day? Do you have any fun Valentine’s memories?