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So, I wake up this morning to a power cut. Everything is eerily quiet and I hear Molly’s deep breaths coming from the other side of the room. She looks so adorable when she’s sleeping albeit she’s sleeping upside down on her bed again! Part of me wants to wake her up and cuddle her and the other part of me asks me if I am a raving lunatic. My sane voice kicks in and I let her sleep.

Charlie has disappeared for an early morning run so I am left to my coffee and my thoughts.

My thoughts drift to the fact that we are one month into 2021. I cannot believe how this year too promises to pass by all too quickly.

I scroll mindlessly on my phone and see advertisements for Valentine’s day gifts. Is it that time of the year already? A gentle snore that escapes from Molly makes me laugh. I think of how things have changed after Molly and parenthood.

Years ago, Valentine’s day would be all about roses, fancy elaborate dinners and gifts that expressed the length and breadth of our love for each other. When Molly was little it became a long-anticipated date night where we actually got to have a conversation and engage in adult conversation with no talks of milk bottles, feeding times or diapers.

Over the last couple of years, Charlie’s followed in my father’s footsteps and included Molly in the flower and chocolate fun. Seeing the excitement on her face to receive her first bouquet of flowers and her very own chocolate box which she didn’t have to share with anyone was heartwarming. It brought back all those wonderful childhood memories of how my dad would make sure that the whole family was included in Valentine’s day love.

Perhaps we shouldn’t wait till Valentine’s day to share the love but like all special days, it makes you sit back and think about what and who is important in your life.

Maybe this Valentine’s day I will think of something a little deeper than just gifts. Maybe I will make it Valentine’s week and make some memories with Molly…

Day 1 - write an “I love you” note and secretly stash it on Charlie’s bedside table.

Day 2 - make Molly’s favourite dessert - involving Molly and resigning myself to the mess and the deep cleaning needed afterwards.

Day 3 - family “movie time”, inclusive of homemade popcorn and chips!

Day 4 - put on some music and throw our own dance party! Molly has great fun on these days letting her parents know how good her moves are and how bad ours are!

Day 5 - Play charades or give us a clue together. Or if we don’t feel like acting we can try a card game. The winner gets to choose dessert!

Day 6 - No pressure day. We promise each other that we will let the whole family relax and order in our favourite meal from our favourite restaurant.

Day 7 - exchange Valentine’s day cards and everyone gets to choose an activity for all of us to do together for an hour each :)

I look back at my list and am quite happy with it. I know that Charlie will smirk a bit at first and will then gradually give in to the process. Molly will jump up and down in excitement and probably topple over something in her happiness and I will stick this up on the wall and tick it off each day in my usual “list crazy” way.

Here’s hoping I can tick it all off.

We all have some form of childhood memories of Valentine’s day and what it meant to us. A festival of love, of respect and of meaning. A day dedicated to telling people who matter and who put up with all your “crazies” that you adore them and value them.

In the madness of work, homeschooling and generally surviving a pandemic this last year, we have hardly had the time to sit down, just be and have those conversations where we enrich our relationships.

Everything is functional and urgent like, ‘did you order the groceries? I have 7 meetings today, can you check on Molly? What do you want for dinner? We are out of Molly’s cereal - are biscuits a breakfast substitute?’

You know the fun, everyday conversations that stop and start every hour and sometimes you get distracted mid-sentence as Molly shows up with an urgent dilemma like her sandwich not having the required amount of cheese or even worse the wrong cheese or my mom on the phone insisting she needs to go to the grocery store when I am trying to convince her that everything she needs I can buy online. The distractions go on…

So maybe the big take away here from this morning’s musings is to set aside 20-30 minutes every day for a proper conversation. It is Polly and Charlie time, Molly and Mummy time or Molly and Daddy time - no distractions, just conversation. We explain that to Molly and that is what it is. We fight through the distractions and demands on our time to give the people who really matter in our lives the time, attention and love they deserve.

I add that to my list. Maybe it won’t happen every day at first but at least it will happen more often than it is now.

If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that people, love and compassion are what makes the world go round!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I leave you with this beautiful quote that touched my heart and resonated with me especially because of what we have been through during these trying times.

“The informality of family life is a blessed condition that allows us all to become our best while looking our worst.” - Marge Kennedy

Author: Polly
Polly is a full time working mom of one who lives with her husband and a constant group of wildlife who come to visit her in the suburbs of Colombo. In her free time or rather in her hypothetical free time, she enjoys reading a good book while curled up on the sofa or travelling the world and tasting different types of cuisine and then she wakes up from that dream and goes back to juggling a phone call, a grocery delivery and folding laundry at the same time. She has a seven year old daughter, Molly who is the apple of her eye and a 21st century husband as she fondly refers to him because he knows how to mix spices together and produce innovative concoctions in the kitchen. She has a lot of balls up in the air but is currently championing a social media campaign to list motherhood as one of the Olympic sports which they can compete in and finally put to rest all the differing opinions on motherhood and parenting so that we can finally have the manual we have all been waiting for. Jokes aside, she is a regular mom, trying to find her place in the world and come to peace with her truth, raise her child to do well for herself and live a happy life as best she can being kind to anyone who crosses her path.
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