Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentine's Week

February 17, 2009
I'm a big believer in the idea that you should make it a point every week, every day, to make sure that the ones you love KNOW that they're the ones you love. That doesn't mean you love everything they say and every choice they make, but it does mean that you let them know you are behind them if they should fall, in front of them when they need to be led, and beside them when they need to walk hand-in-hand with you.That being said, I love Valentine's Day. I might not so much if I pinned all my emotional hopes on that one day, but I don't. It's just a day when I can indulge my inner (well, not so inner, if you really know me) girly-girl romantic. I had the best of both worlds this year--an afternoon of quality time with the kids, and a adults-only night out with my sweetie.

Nicholas had a play date in the afternoon, but before he went, I took him out to a Robotics showcase over at Buchanan. Not your typical way to spend quality time with your loved one on Valentine's Day. However, this organization speaks the kind of language that Nicholas speaks--science and building and robots and NASA and Legos. These are the things that make Nicholas tick, that really mean something to him--that he's GOOD at. So,although I'm pretty sure it'll never be my cup of tea, that is how I chose to spend my time with Nicholas on Saturday, because I want him to know that I respect the things he values, and I want him to pursue the interests that draw him in. My joy in checking out the new Robotics team offering was in watching his eyes light up, and seeing him recognize possibility ahead of him. That is how my boy and I shared our Valentine's Day.

Afterward, when Nicholas was at his playdate, the girls and I got to spend our afternoon doing something we love to do together. We headed off to the movie theater to catch "Bedtime Stories," the kid-friendly flick that is young enough to appeal to Danielle, and broad enough to offer humor and entertainment for Bree and me. The real fun, though, is our running commentary. The Lutjens girls are talkers, and funny ones at that. I'm sure Adam Sandler thought he made a pretty amusing movie, but really, it wasn't quite finished until we got to it. My daughters crack me up, and I'm told they laugh with me (not always at me) as well. And the beauty of a kids' movie is that you don't have all the Serious Movie Viewers shushing you throughout the movie--they're all there for a good time and a laugh as well. I'm still smiling now, thinking about it again.

Once evening rolled around, it was time for the kids to head off to their dad's for the evening. When I got back from dropping them off, Doug and I got ready for a night out. First, he gave me a gift, which was a surprise, since I thought we were just planning on going out to dinner. Then we met up with some friends and headed out to Tokyo Steakhouse, Our dinners were great, and the company made the time fly. One of our friends, Carleen, is a great singer, and since she and Doug both sing karaoke on occasion, we thought we'd find some place where the two of them could sing. (I myself sing well, but only in the car, with the windows rolled up and the radio turned up LOUDLY. And usually by myself, though my kids don't mind belting one out with me when the mood strikes them. Singing karaoke in public, with a mike and random strangers all about--well, that's a different thing entirely.)

We found a place not far from us, and amazingly, the place was packed. I figured on Valentine's night, a dive karaoke bar wouldn't be a hoppin' joint, but I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised. I mean, we all ended up there, too. So Doug took the book, and put his name up for a song. When they called his name, he headed up to the stage. Before the song began, he said, "I want to dedicate this song to my beautiful wife, Donna," and you should have seen all the girls swoon! (Including me. I'm pretty sure there was swooning on my part, too.) I even saw a couple of girls reach out and slap their boyfriends on the arm, a look of, "Hey, why don't you sing like that for me!" reading loud and clear on their faces. The music started, and he belted out Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Pride and Joy." Our song. Oh, my goodness. And not only did he sound great, but he looked great, too. Oh yes, it totally fed my girly-girl romanticism. The big gestures just mean that much more, when you add them to all the little day-to-day gestures already built up.We stayed awhile longer, through good karaoke and bad (REALLY bad, honestly!), but then left on a high note when Doug and Carleen sang a fabulous "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" duet. Finally, we said goodbye to our friends, and came home to celebrate with a little champagne for two. A beautiful close to a beautiful day...

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