I had a weird moment at the store today. As I was paying for the cards and flowers I had belatedly picked up for the girls, ( I didn’t forget, they were just all with me this weekend ) the young man behind the counter gave me a wink and a nod, smiling as if we shared some private joke. It wasn’t until I was halfway home that I realized that everything I had purchased was in quantities of three. I’m fairly certain the young cad had misidentified me as a fellow player, multiple women in my life expecting attention on this day devoted to love.
There was a time when things may have been closer to his presumed interpretation. Days when Valentine’s was among the holidays I made sure to work, not wanting to have to decide who I was spending it with. A time when I was more concerned with staying friends with someone after my “three month rule” had been reached than with actually treating them overly well during that allotted three months. I wrote recently about not being very popular for a stretch of years. The next chapter in that story is a decade of overcompensation for that. Years when I was kind of a dick, to be honest.
Those days are far behind me now. As flattering as it may have been for this kid to think that I could still pull off these types of maneuvers, I have no interest in proving him right. I’m still juggling multiple women and trying to keep too many at a time happy, but I’m related to them all now.
My concerns these days are different, no longer concerned with who I am buying for, but how much. Last year Baby Cupid brought baskets of presents, but I’m willing to concede that may have been a little ridiculous. I settled on absurdly priced cards and flowers, an older movie for each of the kids, and a New England Patriots Super Bowl Championship T-shirt for my wife, leaving them strategically placed as I headed off to work.
Was that enough? Of course not. This is why I struggle with this “holiday” every year. Twelve years ago my wife inadvertently started changing me into a different person. A better man. All three of them continue to push me down that road daily. How many chocolates is that worth?
Hopefully the girls are happy and know that I love them. Even more importantly, I hope this is true the other 364 days of the year as well. I hope that young stud at the supermarket gets as lucky as this one did and that one day he’s buying multiple Valentines for a more respectable reason. I hope when I get home from work tonight my wife is feeling frisky and most importantly, I hope that the shirt fit.