Last week, a friend dropped by to spend an evening in with me. These visits usually involve cheese, wine, a light dinner, coffee or dessert. Whatever the menu, nighttime hangouts have become a regular thing around here. If there’s one thing that single parenthood has confirmed for me, it’s that week nights no longer involve long leisurely dinners at favourite restaurants. When Xavier hits the bed at 8pm, I have roughly 30 mins to get the place in order for whoever is coming to visit. And I really love and look forward to that. You know what else I really love? Valentine’s day.
Ok haters, before you start rolling your eyes and dry retching, please let me share my case.
I’m totally into acknowledging one extra day that’s dedicated to spending quality time with the person you love. I’m also a big fan of eating chocolate. So why on God’s green earth would I cry about another chance to do both? Commercialism, you say? Materialism and marketing traps? Whatever you want to call it, I’m still a fan – and this is all coming from someone who was never ever sent red roses by the person she was formerly married to.
Single girls with a rotten rose taste in your mouth, I’m looking at YOU. Let me tell you about the ways you can thaw out that icy little heart of yours and show yourself some love, not just on Valentines Day, but every other day of the year. Here’s what I am discovering after being happily married, divorced and now, a single parent: no matter what you think your next boyfriend should do for you, there’s only ONE way for him to truly know what you like and how you expect to be treated, and it has nothing to do with you having to spell it out for him. It’s all about what he sees you doing for yourself on a regular basis.
Here are five things that I’ve introduced to my life over the past year that have encouraged me to always look after myself and keep those bitter love bugs at bay.
1. I buy myself flowers
Often. Even if its a last minute decision like the four dollar bunch at the Aldi checkout. I’ve been always inspired by waking up to fresh blooms on my kitchen bench top. Now that I have a space of my very own, that four dollar bunch of inspiration is more valuable to me than ever before.
2. I now have a weekly pamper session
This happens each and every week. It’s usually a Thursday or Friday night, and I gladly do it all myself. I use all my best beauty products. The hair treatments, the face masks, the body scrubs… all of it! There’s no more saving them for a special occasion. As far as I’m concerned, every day is a special occasion. This one is going out to all those mofos who use that bullshit one liner that Valentine’s day is a scam, because you should be expressing your love everyday. Point: if you don’t show yourself a little love every day, don’t expect anyone else to do it for you. Instead, expect the same lame excuse above.
3. I spend more time preparing special treats
Last Saturday morning, I saw a post featuring fresh Milo Cookies on Not Quite Nigella’s Instagram feed. Not sure why, but I was suddenly reminded of my first Valentine’s Day with my ex, prior to marriage. I baked little love heart shaped cakes and hand delivered them to his office. Seeing these cookies in Lorraine’s feed inspired a sense that I didn’t need anyone other than myself and Xavier to bake special treats for. So you guessed it, by that afternoon I had fresh cookies sitting on the bench top and a little toddler reaching up with all the strength in his body to grab one. My heart burst open with pure delight at the sight of his little fingers holding onto a warm cookie and dunking it in some milk. Love: redefined.
4. I take myself out on coffee dates
Sometimes with Xavier, sometimes alone. I have made it a point to spend more time doing the things that I really enjoy. These days, reading a book with a big cup of coffee in a cafe that I’ve never been to is exactly what I crave. With my phone facing down and set to ‘do not disturb’, these little dates are definitely not what I call “me time”. As a single parent, “me time” doesn’t actually exist, because even when I’m alone, driving in the car or walking around a shopping centre, I find myself actually talking to Xavier. I smile to myself thinking about all the things I love about him, telling him about all the places we’ve been and all the places I can’t wait to take him. (Yes I can only imagine how psychotic I look)… These are the precious hours I spend familiarising myself with a world I thought I already knew. This rediscovery has been liberating. Lately I find my best ideas come to me in that little coffee shop that I’ve never been to. Point: start valuing your own company.
5. I make time for silence
Given my schedule, this usually happens right before sleep, or early in the morning because I usually wake up before Xavier. No phone, no music, no technology. Just candlelight and silent prayer with a gentle focus on my breathing. In these moments, I’m reminded that there are no words necessary. God knows the truest desires of my heart, and while I do love chocolate and romantic cards on Valentine’s Day, there’s something really intimate about the fact that no matter how hard we try to express these desires to those we love, sometimes the greatest ones remain wordless and even formless. Point: Nobody will ever know you, as God knows you. Honour that, it’s a beautiful, wonderful thing. Point:
You are worthy and you are loved.
Happy Valentines Day.