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Published February 13, 2012, 11:30 PM

Briggs: Showing my kids I care on Valentine's Day

I’ve never been one for the grand romantic gesture. Valentine’s Day is really not my thing. I’m stubborn enough that I don’t appreciate being told on what day of the year to show my family how much I love them.

By: Tracy Briggs, INFORUM

I’ve never been one for the grand romantic gesture.

Valentine’s Day is really not my thing. I’m stubborn enough that I don’t appreciate being told on what day of the year to show my family how much I love them.

It doesn’t help that both my husband and I are part Scandinavian. Expensive flowers and gifts seem a little impractical when we could use the money to buy another sump pump or fix the drywall in the family room. (Notice I didn’t dismiss expensive chocolates? We’re Scandinavian, not crazy.)

But even though Valentine’s Day isn’t a big deal for us, I do want my family to know how much I love them.

It’s not difficult with my husband. I’ve proven my love for him in bathroom tile. I let him decorate our downstairs bathroom in early American Big Ten football. It’s black and gold and Iowa Hawkeye all over.

Hawkeye logos, rugs and shower hangers adorn the space. A picture of Coach Kirk Ferentz even greets me as I step out of the shower. It’s a little unnerving. I feel like I’m in the locker room. So in my opinion, my husband is good to go. What more could he ever want?

But what about the kids? They already have the Bronx Zoo in stuffed animals, a cauldron of candy still leftover from Halloween, and I’ll be darned if American Girl needs any more of my money (for now).

No, it’s time for a gift from the heart, something that won’t clutter up the toy box or create a sugar high. I will show my kids love in action not word or toy.

Top ten ways I will show my children I love them this Valentine’s Day:

10. Agree with them that The Jonas Brothers are indeed as brilliant as The Beatles

9. Listen to them. Really listen. Turn off the computer and the TV. Look them in the eyes and make them know I really hear them.

8. Stop singing ’70s and ’80s songs (loudly) in the car.

7. Let them jump on the bed. Join them.

6. Let them stay up late.

5. Let them lick the beaters after I make a cake.

4. Don’t even slightly dance in the aisle of the grocery store (even if they are playing Andy Gibb circa 1978).

3. Don’t bug them to brush their teeth. Instead, trust that they’ve gotten the message by now.

2. Let them leave the house without combing their hair. If it works for Ashton Kutcher’s mother, it should work for me.

1. Make sure they know if they had a fan club, I’d be the president. No matter what.

Of course, I should be doing a few of these things EVERY day and some of them very seldom. Kids need boundaries.

We parents prove our love everyday through nagging – not to mention, my mattress couldn’t handle my big mama body jumping on it all the time, and I simply can’t permanently suppress my desire for “Shadow Dancing” in the produce section.

But once a year, I’ll give it a shot and hope they get the message that I love those little stinkers. And their dad in the Iowa Hawkeye shower cap, too.

Tracy Briggs is a mother of two and is an employee of Forum Communications Co.

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