The best Valentine’s Days for me were as a child.
Those days, Valentines days were about getting paper cards signed by friends, in a paper bag you spent an hour of school decorating with red construction paper, sequins and doilies.
I remember my mom making me give a valentine to EVERYONE in my class… even the kids I didn’t like so much… on those I’d write “from Evie” and on others, I’d write more and even say “LOVE Evie.” Coming home with a full bag was exciting… especially if candy was a part of it.
It took almost as long to savor the Valentine bag at home as it did to sort through my Halloween candy.
My mom always gave us a gift too… one year, personalized stationary! One year, a cute outfit!
In 6th grade, the boy I was “going with” gave me a small box of See’s candy in a heart box. Going together for me was not much more than a public declaration that our hormones were kicking in and there was a small mutual attraction… so the box of candy (probably a result of an over excited mother) made me deeply embarrassed and I hid it in my underwear drawer, then when it was discovered, I gave the box to my parents and didn’t eat one chocolate.
As I got older, Valentines Day really remained a holiday about gifts from my mom and an excuse to wear cute heart pins and hair ribbons in addition to my dull school uniform.
This was also the time I observed what the world said about Valentines Day… that men needed to present flowers and jewelry and take women out for nice meals. I dreamed about what that might be like… I thought is was the recipie for happiness and feeling special. It had to be. I mean, everyone made such a big fuss over the romance of it all.
My next experience with a Valentines gift from a guy was when I was 18. I was in an improv class and a really old guy (maybe 32) gave me a rose from a gas station. I was grossed out.
In the next 25 years or so, I spent most Valentine’s Days single – often having dinner with friends in a mock angry at love celebration, but really having fun. But I never really cared too much…. was that a defense?
The years I did have a boyfriend on Valentines Day were for the most part disappointing. There were some cards, some flowers and even a couple of gifts (the time I got a big teddy bear at age 36, I admit, I was pretty bummed.) Mostly, I realized that all the expressions of love I’d wanted so much when I was a teen, didn’t make me feel more happy or loved. Whatever wasn’t right in a relationship before Valentines Day wasn’t solved by earrings… nor did a nice bouquet make me feel more special when I already felt loved.
To me, Valentine’s Day is about childhood. It’s about the old Van DeCamps (?) heart sugar cookies with red sprinkles. It’s about the paper bag of cards made by friends and about a special gift from my mom.
Last year, I gave Spenser an Elmo heart balloon.
He will probably have some heart shaped cookies today, my sister has a gift for him and I’m sure I’ll get him a little gift. I want this day to be sweet and fun… no pressure though.
I did this for breakfast (which to say was unappreciated is an understatement):
I wonder what I’ll teach him about Valentines Day in the future. Right now it’s about a mother’s love. Then it will be about fun friendship. But as an adult, do I really want him to feel that he has to keep up with all of the commercials? I don’t want him to be that guy who says to his love (as once happened to me) “I don’t believe in Valentine’s Day” and then not do or give anything? That was a great one.
Well… I don’t have to worry about that this year 🙂
So, for now….
Happy Valentine’s Day