We celebrated our first anniversary in NYC, and, while there, purchased a Brian Andreas
"Storypeople" print (from the gift shop at the Public Library, I think?) that summed up our relationship to that point. It reads: "I was waiting for such a long time, she said. I thought you forgot. It's hard to forget, I said, when there is such an empty space when you are gone." We framed it and hung it by the front door of our apartment, and it occupies a similar place in our home today.
Fast forward twelve years . . . . Last year for Valentine's Day, Parnell bought me a new laptop. (Unromantic, you say? Did I mention that it was red? Did I also mention that I love it, love it, love it?) This year, we agreed to stick with electronics - a new VCR/DVD combo with burner, so all of the various kid VCR tapes that we are reluctant to part with can be burned to disc and stored in a binder, rather than taking up a drawer in our bedroom and one in Connor's. (If you've been married for a long time, and have kids, then you understand - reclaiming two large drawers' worth of space is a very big deal - quite liberating, and maybe even a little sexy?) We've been picking up other little things along the way (Parnell has to have his Valentine's chocolate - not the kind in a heart-shaped box, but a big gift bag filled with Hershey bars, Reese's cups, etc. - and he bought me a beautiful tulip arrangement, knowing that I don't like getting cut flowers as a gift; I'd rather have something living), but we agreed that grand sentimental gestures are no longer strictly necessary.
Then I stopped in Artful Hand after leaving the hair salon yesterday (same shopping center, and the salon was burning this really great candle that they got at AH), and right next to the candles was a Storypeople display. I ended up getting one for each of my "boys," and they are all totally sappy (and one had the indirect effect of making one of my boys feel like crud; see below):
For the husband: "Tied together by stuff too difficult to explain to someone new." (Note: This is not to be interpreted as, "I'm sticking with you because it would be too difficult to break in a replacement." Again, if you've been married awhile, with kids, you should get the message.)
For the 'tween son: "There has never been a day when I have not been proud of you, I said to my son, though some days I'm louder about other stuff so it's easy to miss that."
For the baby: "The first time his laughter unfurled its wings in the wind, we knew that the world would never be the same."
The "proud" one made Parnell wince a bit, because it's kind of been World War III at our house for the last few days. After years of playing short order cook to our very picky oldest child (whose tendencies are beginning to rub off on the youngest ones), Dad drew the line in the sand, and the new rule is "everyone eats the same thing for dinner, no exceptions, and if you don't finish your dinner, no snacks will be offered." (This constitutes a revision of Dad's first, rather hastily - and angrily - conceived rule of "you WILL eat this cheeseburger macaroni, even if it's for breakfast tomorrow morning, or dinner tomorrow night, because I'm not letting you eat ANYTHING ELSE until you eat THIS, and we're NEVER bringing another snack in this house, EVER." After he calmed down, I persuaded him that the first draft of the rule was a bit Draconian, totally unworkable, and likely to get us in trouble with Child Protective Services.) The first night, Parker forced himself to throw up (and by "up," I do mean "up" - it got in his hair somehow?). The second night, Connor reluctantly consumed his small helping of chicken, vegetables and penne pasta in Alfredo sauce, and we all learned that (1) yellow bell peppers are better than red or orange ones and (2) he actually kind of likes zucchini - "scratch that, Mom - I just don't mind it as much as some of the others." (Hey, I'll work with what I can get.)
Meanwhile, Drama Boy threw himself on the floor, moaning, "Do you WANT me to kill myself? Because I WILL kill myself, on the count of 1 - 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 . . . 2 . . . um, 1. Because I really WILL kill myself. I'm not kidding about this."
So Connor finished, and - per a previously negotiated agreement - he and I headed out to Curly's for drive-through fro yo (Mom), a root beer float (Dad) and fruit punch slush (Connor). Dad stayed home with Parker, since Parker had not touched his food. As Connor and I approached the house (after a five-minute round trip - Curly's is blocks away), we saw Dad's car pulling out - he rolled down the window and announced, "We're going to Curly's - see you in a minute." Apparently, seeing big brother get a reward was all it took. Parker consumed his now-cold dinner in seconds flat (and, after the first bite, said "Oh - this is actually really good").
Long story short - we haven't won the food fight, but we're on the attack, and gaining positive ground.