Oklahoma City family fun can be just what you need.
Valentine's Day is swiftly approaching, with its red roses, surprise boxes and nice dinners out. If you're looking for restaurant suggestions, check out this list of Family Favorites with our Date Night category. You can also find Valentine's Day happenings around OKC here.
What we internalize about love and how to show it must form really early in childhood. I have no idea why but when I think of Valentine's, a black and white video much older than I am of The Supremes' "Stop in the Name of Love" plays in my mind.
I enjoy the idea of Valentine's Day much more than the actual date because it sounds like everything falls into place on its own somehow. There are satin dresses and bowties, no late babysitters or lost reservations. Nothing keeps the couple from their champagne and salade nicoise.
Those ideal images are the cumulative effect of every romantic movie I've seen and yet, not a single Valentine's Day has been like that.
After almost a dozen Valentine's Days now, my husband and I keep celebrating in the ways that make sense for what our life together is at that moment. We've done indoor picnics, choose-your-own-gift days, brought dinner in to eat it while watching over a newborn more than once, had dinner out. Through it all, this is us.
Our life stage doesn't lend itself to fancy dinners out right now, with children ages 9, 4 and 2. This year will be especially low-key, as I'm recovering from an ectopic pregnancy and nothing about that experience makes me want to do much for Valentine's. We're working through it and that's the reality of family life.
This is an unusual circumstance but I don't think we are alone in the non-Valentine's Valentine's concept, though. It falls on a school night this year, after all. Whatever the cause, parents can't always make the romantic evening Feb. 14 is supposed to be happen right now.
I have shifted to daydream within the possible; it's really about being with the people we love anyway.
Sometimes, you just have to create Valentine's where you can find it in the funny-not-funny way that makes us imperfect people but a perfect family.
A little planning can help see us all through. Here are three ideas to celebrate Valentine's Day at home as a family:
- Have a dress-up dinner: Playing dress-up isn't just for kids. Sometimes, it can be nice just to put on nice clothes for a meal together and eat take-out in the dining room instead of the kitchen. How far you want to take it is up to you. I've put on a pretty dress and my sons have worn their clip-on ties with tiny pinstriped vests just because.
- Step up your movie night: "Netflix and chill" is a common phrase in my household. Instead of the usual popcorn, we change it up for special occasions like New Year's when I'd rather not be out driving with three small kids. Everyone gets to choose a boxed candy. We serve sparkling punch out of plastic champagne flutes. A good time is had by all.
- Make a memory night: We decided to have a tradition called "memory night" where we sit down and look through pictures. Have your kids seen your wedding photos? Mine hadn't until recently. Plan a quiet evening to sit back and explain the story of how you met up until where your kids made an appearance. We looked through baby books and photos recently and my children were amazed at their own stories. I have Timehop on my Facebook, the plugin that shows what you were doing at this time of year several years ago. Just scrolling through an old phone or digital albums works too if you don't have any printed. My oldest doesn't think his baby photos are cute anymore but he is interested in our family tree so it's also a good time to show who's who in the generational line-up.
If you're looking for local events to celebrate Valentine's Day out on the town, check out these suggestions. There are things to do as a couple and other ideas for family activities.
We'll celebrate this date as a couple another time, on an evening with less traffic, when we're feeling better.
For now, I think I'll find the record player. We might try a music and sushi night in this year and play old favorites like The Supremes.