My wife and I had made plans to drop our daughter off at grandmas so that we could have an entire Saturday of Valentines Day festivities. It had been a while since our work schedule’s had synced. We were super excited to go hiking in the mountains, have dinner not involving sippy-cups and bibs, and going to watch a movie. I cant tell you when was the last time I saw a movie on the big screen.
The Valentine’s Day get away was brought to a screeching halt a few days prior due to our daughters vomiting. Claire was not feeling well Thursday evening but it wasn’t until she puked that we realize it was more serious. Friday she had puked again, only in the morning but we knew we wouldn’t be able to drop her off at grandmas if she had some kind of stomach bug. All hopes of a potential romantic get away ended Saturday morning when Claire clearly hadn’t gotten better.
We spent most of Valentines Day comforting our little girl. Claire, who is usually running around as if she had drunk a six-pack of red bull was very calm and subdue. We actually had her cuddling on the couch with us, which is hard to do because she is so active. We spent time comforting her as we watched a few episodes of her favorite cartoon, Sofia the First. My wife did some homework since we weren’t going anywhere and I spent most of my time taking care of the little one.
Dinner was one of our typical recipes that we rotate through every few weeks. We had some wine and dessert from an earlier grocery store trip. We rented a Red box movie that my wife had wanted to see for the last year. It wasn’t the Valentines Day we had hoped for but in the end it worked out.
As parents we find our plans interrupted constantly by our children. It can be frustrating, especially when you’ve been planning something for a few weeks. Yet, the demands of love require that we be capable and willing to be interrupted. As disappointing as it was to not be able to do any of the things we had planned, there was something deeply beautiful in spending time serving our sick daughter. By no means was it as glamorous as a romantic outing for the day, but it was what love demanded and what love demands is always worth while. I know I write about this concept often, but a willingness to surrender to ones desires is so necessary; especially in being a parent, especially as a man. At the end of the day Valentines Day is about spending time with those you love most. It is amazing how sickness can reveal our love for our family. The cleaning up of vomit, having your child in your arms for the entire day, or the simple pat on the back for comfort are gestures of love that say more than weeks of planning an outing, cooking the perfect dinner and buying a gift.
To love is to serve. To serve is to love. This is what love demands of us.