Valentine’s Day has always given me different feelings at different points in my life. As a kid I looked forward it to because there would neat cards and small gifts from my parents waiting for me on my breakfast plate. We’d give Valentines to the class and likely have a little celebration at the end of the day.
As a junior high/high school kid I started to feel a little resentment toward the holiday. Especially when all the popular, pretty girls got candy and balloon grams and I didn’t. Unless one of my friends got me one. We’d do that every now then, send each other the grams and that actually made it a little better. I’d still hand out Valentines to my friends, but we didn’t get to have a little party in the last class of the day. Which was sort of a bummer.
When I got to college I had a healthy annoyance toward the holiday. I would get a small package from my parents, but I never really got anything else. Because all through college I was single. My freshman year I got a letter from my “future husband” in my campus mailbox. It was just a letter from my PA (peer advisor, basically the same thing as an RA) which I found a little disappointing, but it was still nice to get something in my mailbox on Valentine’s Day.
After I was married Valentine’s Day was just another excuse to leave little notes and sweet things for Jordan. We were both hopeless romantics so it wasn’t an odd thing to find messages scrawled on the bathroom mirror, a note tapped there or a surprise maple bar in the microwave (so our crazy cat wouldn’t eat all the maple off the top). It wasn’t odd to find flowers on the kitchen table for me. Every time I did I was thrilled though. It didn’t matter how many bouquets he got me, it was always a treat. So Valentine’s Day was just one of those days when I knew something would be waiting for me and likewise for Jordan.
After he passed Valentine’s became a little bitter for me. I was dating someone for one Valentine’s Day. It was alright. He got me a gift and I got him a little something. He didn’t feel our gifts were an even trade so made feel bad for getting him something so small. It, apparently, was not the thought that counted, but the money spent.
So I’ve experienced the whole spectrum of feelings toward Valentine’s Day from loving it to being neutral to absolutely hating it. This year as Valentine’s Day approached I began to see things popping up about it on social media. Lots of people hate it. Which is fine you’re allowed to hate something. But the reasoning for it is weird. It makes single people sad, it’s only about card companies making money (like all other holidays are devoid of frivolous spending, come on!).
But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about your significant other. Just as Halloween evolves from trick or treating as a kid to parties as an adult, you can do the same with Valentine’s Day. There are no hard and fast rules for holidays you know. You can make Valentine’s Day about all the people in your life you love. Change what Valentine’s Day means to you. That’s what I decided to do this year. I focused mostly on my son. It helped that he’s in preschool now and so we worked on cards for his class and cards for the family.
Just because I don’t have a boyfriend doesn’t mean my life is devoid of love. My son loves me, my in laws love me, my parents, my sister, my brother in law they all love me. So why do we focus so much on romantic love? We don’t have to.
So your coworker received flowers from their significant other, so what? How does that affect you? Maybe you want flowers…but who the hell did you send flowers to today? Instead of groaning about it, why not turn the holiday on it’s head. Send a bunch of flowers to your roommate, your sister, brother, mother, father, whoever! Maybe next year you’ll get something, but you know what? I’m inclined to say that’s not what love is about, love is about giving. For me Valentine’s Day is an excuse to get my son a nice little gift. I’m not going to let it be a reminder of what I don’t have in my life. From this year forward I’m making Valentine’s Day a reminder of the love that IS in my life.
What are your feelings about Valentine’s Day?