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Valentines Day - be careful what you ask for.

It's that time of ear again - Christmas is a memory, Mothers Day and Easter are on the horizon, Hallmark is freaking out. I sincerely doubt that old Saint Valentine had ten dollar greeting cards or forty dollar candy boxes in mind when he was exposing kindness toward each other. However most of us follow the crowd-myself no exception, following is a short column that ran in Florida Today newspaper. Hope you enjoy.

Flowers, candy, jewelry…One wonders what old Saint Valentine would think of his day in these times? While I certainly have no objection to receiving shiny baubles, (Tennis bracelet-Zales Jewelers-) I think over the years the best gifts have been free, (or very cheap).

I was feeling less than romantic on Valentines Day when I was 8 months pregnant with my fourth child. Backaches, exhaustion, swollen everything was exacerbated by three young children and a husband who worked two jobs.

Money being tight and hours spent helping little people pick just the perfect card for each friend and little fingers sign each card did little to help put me in a Hallmark mood.

The holiday fell on a school day, as I raced to get everyone dressed and fed visions of “Someday When The Kids Are Grown” romantic dinners intermingled with

“Is Kim wearing matching shoes?” “Did Darlene finish her homework?” “I hope Cindy’s teacher likes the card we spent so much time on.”

Finding a beautiful card and a small box of candy from my best beau carefully placed in the cereal box brightened my day considerably, but the handmade coupon for one day of total child care gave me the vapors.

I immediately began making plans for a long leisurely afternoon at the beach alone with a good book and that box of candy.

The big day arrived along with itchy spots and a fever on the three-year-old. By the following Sunday all three kids were scratching and whining. The third Sunday found my husband with a fever. The one after that I was in labor. I think you get the drift; the coupon became the impossible dream.

I still have that unused coupon, but no need for child care. I wonder if it could be traded in on something more useful? (Tennis bracelet-Zales Jewelers-)

That day on the beach with a book is still a great idea, especially if the beach is in Bahia Honda.

Going into a pharmacy superstore the day after Christmas I stood and watched the singing Christmas tree doing its little thing nestled right next to a singing Valentines Day bear doing its little thing, both bearing signs touting them as “The Perfect Gift!”

Someone should tell them the perfect gift comes from the heart not the wallet.

My children (when they were younger), and grandchildren display the right spirit, I have a treasure trove of clay plates with tiny hands outlined, and jewelry boxes with crooked hinges, paintings, potholders, and Popsicle stick creations of all kinds.

However, my now adult children and my husband were horses of different colors. The rivalry between them when it came to gifts for dear old mom was getting intense.

It all started a few birthdays ago when someone near and dear to my heart asked me what kind of gift I would like, I told him to surprise me, and that he should know me well enough to be able to come up with something nice. Then I made the mistake of adding “Something with a few carats.”

We had the live white rabbit he came home with for 3 years. I named him Diamond.

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