Those of us inclined to lay low are generally not fond of big, showy displays of affection. This has been particularly evident for me on Valentine’s Days past. I’ve never been a fan of big boxes of love-chocolates, nor have I relished receiving two-dozen long-stemmed roses—I’d prefer cash. Year after year, come February 14, my celebration of choice includes a night at home with Chinese takeout.

(If I’m depressing you, don’t worry, I come around!)

My grandest attempt at going “all out” was about five years ago when I selected a random assortment of  items for my husband at a Duane Reade in Penn Station. (Said gifts included, among other things, an eyeglass-repair kit and a blow-up neck pillow for use on a plane or a train. And, oh yeah, a card.) It was a great success; John loved it! A couple of romantic fools we are, huh?

My conversion toward sentimentality began two years ago when I picked up my then-2-year-old from his first foray into independence at a local crafts program. He came bounding up to me with a number of Valentines from his “classmates.” Cards, candy, the whole bit. I immediately felt negligent. I’d sent Keith to school empty-handed! How had all the other mommies known that two-year-olds trade Valentines?? (Thanks, Ladies.) Intent on not failing in 2012, I sent Keith in with little boxes of conversation hearts. I’m getting the warm and fuzzies recalling how he recounted the glories of handing them out that day.

This year, I’ve found myself getting even more and more excited by the festivities, due in no small part to February issue’s feature, “Heart and Soul,” our “cupid board” of cool ideas for sharing the love this V-Day. As contributing editor Anna Sandler and I discussed and collected items and activities, I became giddy with anticipation, considering all the things I could make for Keith’s little friends. (Pick one, Judy. Just one.) An “Egg in a Heart?!” I am SO making that for Keith and Little Nate. (It’s also worth noting that every time I read that love-letter bit, I get misty.) Thank you, Saint Valentine, for showing me the way. I’m blissful thinking up all the little ways I can demonstrate to my three men how much they mean to me­—every day.

This year, I’ll be babysitting my nephew Robert on Valentine’s Day. He loves lo mein, as do Keith and Nate. I’ll be at home with my special boys. Exactly where I want to be.