This is how I feel. This is the attitude I give to the public, certainly. Valentine's Day - bah! - a holiday that exists solely to sell cards and flowers (for starters). A holiday that reminds single people that they're single - a fact they are usually pretty good at remembering on their own - right in the middle of the coldest, grayest month of the year. A holiday that provides a competitive atmosphere for those who ARE in relationships - clearly she who gets the biggest bouquet/sparkliest jewels/priciest dinner out - wins. The existence of Steak and a BJ Day one month later underlines the whorier aspects of it - the man who buys dinner/flowers/jewelry/cards gets sexual favors. Nice.
That's how I feel about it.
Just ask me.
This is closer to how I really feel. I want to be surrounded by hearts and flowers and teddy bears and puppies hugging each other and more pink and red than the average set of eyes can handle.
Ok, that's not entirely true.
Puppy hugs are totally optional.
The truth is - I really like the concept of holidays - little celebrations to break up the routine. I like the idea of decorating around a theme. I like special foods and recipes that are only trotted out once a year.
A couple things stand between me and all-out holiday observations. First, my handsome husband agrees with everything I wrote in that first paragraph. (Except the part about Steak and BJ Day being whorish. He thinks that it should be a meaningful, stand-alone, nationally recognized holiday.) Second - and this one is far more significant than any objections from my husband - it costs money to redecorate and prepare special food and provide little treats every couple weeks.
I tried - for a while - when I was young and there was still life in my eyes. Eventually, though, the ridiculousness of spending more than I had to make things festive for a family who didn't really care about it one way or the other began to sink in. So the cynicism expressed in the first paragraph? It is real. But it was learned.
One Valentine's Day - some fifteen years ago - I went all out. The house was decorated. Gifts were bought for Tom and Lea - Liv wasn't born yet. I made elaborate Valentines for the grandparents and aunts with Lea (I made cupid wings for her and a floral wreath for her hair, then took pics and embellished them with hand crocheted lace as well as assorted beads and bobbles. They were a labor of love -and with all the people we made them for - not a quick one.) She and I did Valentine's Day projects for weeks in advance. We were expecting company that weekend, so I had a three day cookie baking project filling up all of my kitchen counters - I baked the cookies one day, glazed them the next, and piped borders and the names of everyone who was supposed to visit us that weekend on them the third. When the frosting was dry, I put each cookie in a cellophane bag and tied it off with a pretty ribbon - then I put all of the cookies in a basket and put it on the table as a centerpiece. I had really worked myself up into a pretty intense state of anticipation.
And then it snowed.
And one by one, everyone who was supposed to come by over the weekend cancelled.
"No big deal," I said, "another time."
And then I spent the weekend eating those cookies with Lea. They tasted like sadness and disappointment and loneliness. And also butter and powdered sugar. I probably wouldn't have eaten quite as many of them if all they had going for them was sadness and disappointment and loneliness.
I never found a way in my heart to try to make a big deal of it again.
Although I did help my kids make homemade Valentines to take to school as long as Valentines were expected.
I didn't allow myself to become a COMPLETE heart humbug.
I hope you have a happy Valentine's Day.
My family and I?
I hope we just manage to have a happy Tuesday.