Allow me to share my messy attempt to show the family some love this morning. (Note that I used the word “attempt,” as the results certainly were mixed.)
Let me take a step back and lay the foundation. Valentines Day is not the biggest deal to me personally. I am lucky to have a wonderful hubby, so it’s not that I feel left out on this day of love. I’m not saying Valentines Day is pointless or wrong or anything bad. But it’s just not a huge deal to me. I think we should always be sweet and kissy with the people we love, not because our calendar says it’s February 14. We’ve always celebrated Valentines Day in some way or another. Even on the Valentines Day when I was very sick in bed I think I managed to stumble to the kitchen and present Hubby with something I’d painted for him, before staggering back to bed. Most of the time we’ve celebrated our own way, something casual. Sometimes we make cards for each other. We get take-out food and have a family park picnic. We love simple stuff.
Here’s why Valentines Day is on my radar this year more than some other years: my kids are into it. They bring cards for their classmates and have a cookie party with their class. It’s cute! To kids this age, today is about exchanging Star Wars or Dora the Explorer valentines. There’s candy and festivity involved. It’s a win-win situation! They’re oblivious to the ads on tv, goading watchers to rush to their local mall and buy something (NOW!) to show their special someone how much they are loved. For young kids, this day is simple, and it’s pure. I dig that.
Anyway, I knew I wanted to do something for the family since the kids knew what today was. Last night I stirred water and red food coloring into pancake mix and threw it into the fridge. This morning, in an undeniable gesture of my love for the family, I hit my snooze button a mere three times (instead of the usual four or five), as I knew I’d need an extra fifteen minutes to make Valentine pancakes. My first few attempts were not wildly successful. One heart pancake broke as I flipped it, which seems unfortunate on a day when hearts should be happy.
But hubby said it would still taste good (isn’t he a gem?!). Also, I’d forgotten that batter really changes color when it cooks, and my pale pink batter yielded blotchy pinky-brown pancakes that resembled my skin after a slight sunburn. No good. If I’m going to make pink pancakes, I want them to really look pink! I added more red food coloring and tried again. (All the while calling to the kids to wake up and get dressed. After several reminders, my voice wasn’t as sweet and Valentiney as I’d like. Getting the kids up is no easy feat. I’m a pancake artist, after all—not a magician!) My subsequent efforts at pink pancakes showed some improvement but I can’t say Cupid’s arrow hit its target right away. There were the pancakes that weren’t pink enough. Or broken. Or changed shape while they cooked. Kind of a band of misfits, but hey, they did taste good and the effort was there. Eventually I figured out the right color and size and got a few that looked on the plate like they looked in my head. I was happy that the family knew they were loved, and that (somehow) everyone got out the door on time for school.
It seems that (once again) I have learned the hard way that doing a multi-step breakfast on a school day will not eliminate morning stress simply because it’s Valentines Day. But doing fun stuff (even when it makes me crazier during the process) is just part of who I am. Making food in unexpected colors and shapes is just so entertaining. There are many ways to show people some love. I think some of the best ways are free and simple. A hug or a flower from your yard. And as for carving a six-foot ice sculpture in my hubby’s likeness, there’s always next year…