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Valentines Day, Then and Now…

I remember when I was little, sitting at the kitchen table and painstakingly choosing the right Valentine for each person in my class.  I would neatly print their name and mine, lick the envelope, and seal it with a sticker. It would take hours. The next day, dressed in red and white, I would happily distribute the Valentines and collect mine from others, which I proudly counted at the end of the day. The more Valentines you received, the more you were loved, right?

 As a teenager, I remember sending a secret Valentine to my brother-in-law’s friend, whom I had a crush on since my sister’s wedding. Six years older than I, he never knew I existed, but I still got a thrill, knowing I had sent him that card.

 Valentines Day with my first boyfriend was very romantic and fun. He made me laugh and spoiled me with gifts. Turned out those gifts were purchased with stolen money, but hey, it was good at the time.

 Then there’s my amethyst ring, and cedar chest at the top of the stairs, Valentine gifts that still fill me with guilt and regret, for having broken a heart. Better to have loved and lost? Depends who you ask.

 Time changes everything, as did my feelings about Valentines Day.  Once my kids were in school, the focus shifted.  My husband took a back seat while I spent hours helping the kids with their Valentines, tying pretty ribbons around heart shaped suckers and baking countless batches of cupcakes decorated with red and white candies.

 As my children got older, my daughter prepared her own Valentines, while my son shunned the day like every other ten- year old boy. My focus shifted back to my husband with romantic notes and chocolates hidden in his briefcase. Once (probably after reading one too many Cosmopolitan articles) I told him to come home for lunch. Led to the bedroom by a trail of rose petals, I met him wearing skimpy lingerie, complete with strawberries, whip-cream and chocolate. We never did get to lunch. It was a Valentines Day we wouldn’t forget. 

 But like I said, time changes everything, and I ‘d be afraid to try that now.  First, I’d have the chocolate and strawberries eaten before he’d get home, second, if the shock didn’t kill him, he’d probably say something to ruin the mood like,

 “We are going to have lunch too?”

 Although I wouldn’t turn away diamonds (jewelry store flyer has been strategically placed), I’ve come to realize, it isn’t only about what he does or gives you on Valentines Day that counts.

 You hear women complain about all the little things their men don’t do. Well, I got lucky, my husband, does those things. He brings me flowers for no reason, he’ll watch a chic flick without much complaint.  He knows when I need to hear ‘you look beautiful’ or when I need to be left alone. He stops to smell the roses, often. Sometimes, out of the blue, he’ll come out with something so sensitive I wonder if he’s dying or worse, having an affair. Things like, “Nothing we have would mean anything without you” or telling our kids  “If it weren’t for your mom we wouldn’t have the wonderful family we do”. He’s a wonderful father and does his share around the house.   He has always valued and supported whatever I’ve chosen to do.

 This Valentines Day I’ll be excited to hear about my daughter’s day. (she’s young and in love). My son on the other hand terrifies me. Last year, he had not one, but two bouquets of flowers delivered to his girlfriend’s school. When I asked, “Why two bouquets?” He replied,  “Lots of girls get one bouquet of flowers, I wanted her to feel special, so I sent two”. I was so focused on the dollar signs I was seeing, I failed to see the stars in his eyes.

 Young love, that’s what Valentines Day is all about, but for me, it’s about all of the days in between.

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