To my teenage are some hints in case you want to plan ahead for Feb. 14th. Not that I require or even encourage you to spend money...but there are some ideas on this list that don't even require spending anything.

1. A full Saturday of having to do nothing. That means you would, WITHOUT BEING ASKED: Wash, dry, and put away the laundry, load and empty the dishwasher leaving the sink EMPTY, cook me breakfast, lunch, and dinner, bake me a dessert, make me coffee and bring it to me, empty all the garbage pails and take the garbage out, and run interference so that nobody needs to reach me. And don't ask me to drive you anywhere!

2. An oldie but a goodie: A handmade, handwritten card or note expressing the gratitude and love you feel for our little family -- you know, the things you never say in person anymore. And that means I get to see your handwriting...not something typed and printed.

3. Make reservations all by yourself for us to go to a place where I have always wanted to go for dinner: Scarborough Fair in Wall. Reservations probably should have been made months in advance (so it may be too late for V-Day itself). I'd want to sit in one of those cozy booths they have...but I wouldn't expect you to pay. The point is that it would be nice to know that you arranged it all and were willing to come with me for a nice evening out. (I am already blessed that you still commit to spending my birthday with me...and we have some wonderful dining memories at Avon Pavilion from summertime at the shore!)

4. Come shopping with me...and LIKE IT! Sometimes I just want to stroll through a store like my favorite shop, Stella e Luna in Point Pleasant Beach. I don't want eye rolling, sighs, or feel rushed. I want you to look around with me and enjoy it, not wait in the corner or outside on your phone.

5. Sit on the couch with me for a couple of hours watching a movie. Just hang out in the same room with me instead of in your own room with the door shut. And be happy about it! Don't act all serious and bored and like you'd rather be anywhere else. Just enjoy some time together. (We did this once for New Year's Eve and it's one of my favorite memories.)

6.  If you WERE to get me chocolate, you already know that I like my chocolate extra dark. So go to a local chocolate maker like Third Avenue Chocolate Shoppe in Spring Lake and get me REAL, FRESHLY MADE chocolate for Valentine's Day! Not something that has been sitting on a drug store shelf for months and full of ingredients that can't be pronounced. Just a few pieces from a real chocolate shop will do...perhaps those dark chocolate cups that are filled with a Bailey's cream center or cherry liquor.

And, finally, I want to make sure you know how grateful I am for the many times  you have gotten me greater gifts than I would ever ask for-- some that money can't buy.  We have already made some great memories, sometimes with just the simple things. So I am already blessed with the gift of having you both as my sons : )



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