I wish I were the type of person who genuinely thinks Valentine’s Day is a load of commercialised clap-trap. Instead, I am the type of person who pretends they think this but actually gets quite annoyed if the cellophane-wrapped heart chocs are not forthcoming. Luckily Trulove is aware of this. Although he hasn’t demonstrated his adoration in the form of confectionery, flora or fancy goods so far today, at some point I’m expecting a treat – maybe an enormous plush teddy bear holding a heart-shaped helium balloon, with chocolate fondants for stuffing and a dozen red roses stuck up its luxurious arse, or something. Just waiting for the postman’s knock now.
Ziggler was born just before Valentine’s Day. That year, on the day – when I was still sore, and milky, and dying for sleep, I had a sudden realisation about Romance. The rosy specs were off. ‘It’s all a trick!’ I said, aghast, to Sausage. She nodded, sagely (always a good idea with a just post-natal woman). ‘It’s all a dirty great biological trick! You think you’re in love but really your body wants you to procreate without noticing how bloody shit pregnancy and birth is!’ Sausage was nodding in a slightly concerned way by now. But she knew what I meant. I spent my teens writing in my diary about which boy had looked or – gasp! – uttered a word in my direction, my twenties falling deeply in love every fortnight and my thirties have been less flirtatious than lactatious, so far. The intrigue of romance seems transparent and puzzling in equal measure, where once it seemed the most important and exciting thing of all.
Unfortunately I shared my ‘trick’ theory with Trulove, which retrospectively was a bit tactless. He took it like a man though. He’s good like that.
I was feeling a bit crap earlier, so I thought I’d think about all the ways in which love features in my life every day, never mind all the helium balloon and heart-leap nonsense.
My family is a bit whacky and, on paper, dysfunctional. We judge each other, fall out and each gets right on the other’s tits in one way or another. We were gossiped about like crazy in the village where I grew up. And yet we give each other help, support, and true love. And a really, really good laugh.
My kids are utterly scrumptious and they are at the age where they love me more than they love anything in the whole wide world. It’s kind of nice to know that while they will probably love me a tiny bit less with each year that passes, I will always love them just as much as I do now – more than anything in the whole wide world.
And then there’s Trulove. We bicker. We are competitively tired. We disagree on most points of childrearing, how clean things should be, what constitutes a good book, and what film we want to watch and why. It feels like we can go days without having a conversation. But we both love a good doss, and a good laugh, and the seaside out of season. He quenches my hysteria and I let him know when he’s been too blunt. He knows the power of a good hug even if he doesn’t understand why I’m crying. We love each others families. We love our kids. We love each other. They don’t call him Trulove for nothing, you know.