My Valentine woke me early this morning, whispering gently in my ear:
"I'm so excited. Tonite's our date!"
Then she let out a toot and announced she had to poop. So much for romance.
This Valentine's Day, my four-old will be my date for the evening. Her father and I had a wonderful dinner out last night and celebrated before the rush, so tonite, it is Reese and I hitting the town. First, dinner (Mexican, her choice, chicken "not spicy" and rice) to be followed by a UC Davis women's basketball game. When I told her we were going, she couldn't believe her good fortune.
HER (screaming wildly): What, you and me are going to a little girl football game? Just the two of us?
ME: Well, actually it's a basketball game and they're not really little...
HER (screaming wildly): A basketball game! Just the two of us! This is the best ever in my whole life!
Something tells me she's not entirely clear what she's in for, but the fact is, Reese is completely in love, and if you've ever been in love, you know, the venue doesn't matter. And no amount of time "just the two of you" is ever enough. When you're in love, the moment you've completed the "walk of shame" home, you're on the phone with your honey: "I miss you, I miss you too, why don't you come over, no you come over." It's the first cut that's the deepest.
And it's like that for Reese; I am her first love and until the moment she comes out of its spell and realizes the incredibly big doofus that I am, no amount of me is enough for her. And anything we do together is "the best ever."
This morning she sat in my lap, stroking my face, cradling her Valentine goodies.
HER: You have a beautiful face, Mama. I want to marry you.
ME: Well, thanks, but you can't marry me honey, I'm your mom.
HER (sighs, pause): OK, then I'll marry Daddy.
The truth is, I envy her vulnerability, the trust in which she places in me, thrusting her heart into my hands with everything's she's got, never wondering whether I might drop it. It's an act of bravery, and though I know I will do everything I can not to dissappoint her, I know that one day, real love, romantic love, might not be so kind. I know that one day, someone who doesn't love her like I do, someone who wouldn't throw themselves in front of a semi to protect her, may be the object of her affections.
I know that for most, loving means losing also, at least for awhile. Until you win.
For now, we'll eat Mexican and watch "little girl" basketball and I will hold her hand in mine and know that, for tonite, my little girl's heart - and my own - are full.