Generally speaking, Valentine’s isn’t really my bag. There is no real reason other than, like most holiday traditions – Santa, Easter Bunny, etc. – I just sort of grew out of it. As a kid, I loved decorating my shoebox and picking out fun Valentine’s for school friends. It was all so magically simple. All you needed was creativity, cards, & candy, and the mindset to be ready for a fun party instead of assignments.
Then the awkwardness of puberty came into play and suddenly the day was supposed to mean so much more. As if daily survival isn’t difficult enough transitioning into your teens, suddenly you have to get flowers, chocolates, or stuffed animals too. Having the specialness of the day defined by romance drained the fun.
Through my teens I put on a good face, smiling when I was given gifts in class. Making smart-ass remarks as I walked back to my desk, knowing my face was redder than the heart containing chocolate. Overall, I rarely saw the point.
With the exception of my Dad sending me flowers when I was in 5th grade, anything beyond a simple gesture seemed more about being for show than because I was special. And I’m pretty sure I don’t speak just for myself when I say, there is nothing a child of the 80’s hates more than feeling like they are not actually special. It’s our generations’ downfall, throughout our elementary years we were all told we were special. If memory serves ‘We were the future’, Whitney said so herself – the fact that she later drowned in her hotel tub from a cocaine overdoes is neither here nor there. We were special, the future even and one day we were gonna dance with somebody.
Perhaps that’s why when it came to romance, I decided Valentine’s was not for me. It never made me feel special. The Valentine’s I remember were not the ones spent with a boyfriend. Instead they were from the little things my parents would do, small gifts of bracelets or a favorite lip-gloss before I headed off to school. Cards delivered via mail from my Grandparents and Aunt. Making and decorating heart shaped sugar cookies with my Grandma and taking them to their neighbors. Those are my favorite Valentine’s memories.
In many ways this is the beautiful thing about being a parent, you get to see the world as new again. Helping my toddler pick out her Valentine’s, I realized I wanted my own. So I picked out the beez-neez of dinosaur valentines, perfect for boosting my co-workers spirits. Not that a valentine compensates for the pain-in-the-ass I can be the rest of the year, but at least they would know I appreciate them. As I dropped off their personalized dino valentines, I was elated and hoped they felt special. Tonight, I’ll continue my favorite Valentine activities and make heart shaped sugar cookies with my toddler and let her decorate to her hearts content with blue sprinkles (blue is her color of choice).
What is the point of my incessant rambling, you ask. The point is simply this, Valentine’s can be celebrated with whoever and however you want. Just make it special.
It should be noted, I feel very fortunate to have a spouse that puts up with all my quirks and is in accord to leave Valentine’s Day off the list of days celebrated. Not that it’s necessary to twist a mans arm for this sort of thing, but I greatly appreciate it all the same.