What are your thoughts about Valentine’s Day? Do you enjoy it? Loathe it? Not even realize it’s a special day? Do you celebrate it in anyway?
I’ll say it: I love Valentine’s Day. But not the mandatory-dozen-red-roses-fancy-date-expensive present Valentine’s Day. I love the day that celebrates all forms of love—not just romantic. And I love the day that’s an excuse to eat more chocolate. And the day that inspires M&Ms to make cherry cordial flavor candies available. SO. GOOD.
Growing up, I always loved making the little boxes or brown paper bags and getting the different cards and candy from my classmates (at some point it was mandatory to give everyone something). My mom also got us kids little trinkets. I don’t remember middle school; and high school probably had some balloon/flower delivery thing. While I would daydream that some boy would sweep me off my feet, I think a little part of me knew that who I secretly hoped for and how he would be simply couldn’t exist yet. Already my heart was yearning for authentic love (but didn’t have the language for it), so I wasn’t too disappointed that 17-year-old boys weren’t ready yet.
College was all about S.A.D.: Single Awareness Day. My bestie, our guy friend from the floor, and eventually my guy friend from retreats (yeah, we know NOW what that should’ve told us!), would mark the occasion with a trip to Steak n’ Shake. One year I had no classes that day and drove myself to the mall all dolled up to buy a little something for myself.
Now that I’ve entered into the Adult phase of Valentine’s Day celebrations, I still try to keep it about other people—even if I have dates (grand total of 2). And the giving of little cards has come full circle: now I mail proper-size cards to faraway friends and family, deposit little valentines with a piece of chocolate to the nuns at work, and treat myself to a little something. One year, it was a little book that I bought for me and then read over the phone to a couple friends.
And these celebrations were definitely preferable to the going-through-the-motions date. My first Valentine date and I had only been seeing each other for a few weeks. He sent roses to my apartment, and I baked him heart-shaped Snickerdoodles. Though it had the trappings of your typical romantic date (he wore a full suit!), it was a little off. We ate a pub called the Squealing Pig. I had my first thought that I couldn’t picture him for the long-term. A year later, I much preferred the night spent with with my roomie watching chick flicks, drinking wine, and white Christmas lights in a shape of a heart on the wall.
After 6 years, I finally had my second romantic Valentine experience. Mr. Sweet and I did have a date Friday. But neither of us wanted a big deal—just to spend some time together and have a nice meal, and maybe dress up, because dressing up is fun. And it was. 🙂 What February the 14th really was was just another day to continue what we already do for each other.
And that to me is what Valentine’s Day should be: just another day, like an anniversary, or birthday, celebrating relationships—any kind of love.