Friday, February 14, 2014
I have finally figured it out- how to LOVE Valentines day and be happy whether you are married, dating or single, whether your special someone is romantic, rich or not. Here it is: do the things you did when Valentines day was fun! Sounds simple, and it is.
Remember when Valentines day was fun? When you carefully selected the right cards for your friends and classmates, chose the conversation hearts with just the right sentiment for each one? Carefully stuck the heart sticker on the envelope and decorated your own mailbox with pink and red hearts and doilies? Do you remember when it stopped being fun, started being filled with anxiety or romantic expectations?
I do- in 5th grade Eddie Farnsworth gave me a BIG heart shaped box of chocolates. And no one else. I had no idea he liked me before then, I hadn't really thought twice about him before then. Suddenly he was looking pretty cute. I wasn't sure why he chose me, but I was pretty sure it had something to do with my new glasses- they must have made me cuter than I used to be. I was really excited about my chocolates, eating only a couple a day to make it last. Nothing grew between Eddie and I, I'm pretty sure we didn't talk again after that day. But something changed that year, suddenly Valentines became about romance, getting gifts or attention from boys, and it became disappointing. It got even worse in Jr High when the halls were filled with girls carrying stupid stuffed animals and giant balloon bouquets. There was the hope every day that I might get a valentine gram from any one of the boys I had crushes on- and then the disappointment. The fear that I would never have a good valentines again, no boy would ever get me a huge heart shaped box of chocolates again (I don't think anyone ever did come to think of it...) Then high school, and joy of joys I had a boyfriend! Surely now I would have the valentines I'd dreamed of! I waited expectantly for those valentine grams, certainly I'd have something ridiculous to carry around all day and be proud/embarrassed someone loved me so much... but no. Disappointment every year. I'm sure I got something- in fact I can remember a couple of actually nice gifts, and I'm sure I was happy about them, but it could never be enough, never live up to some imaginary fantasy of what valentines was "supposed" to be.
Then there was a low point, the valentines I spent heart broken, days after being dumped- I wallowed and cried and watched valentines specials in my pjs at home, too heartsick to face all the couples in love and their stupid balloons and roses. I remember distinctly wishing I could just curl up and go to sleep for 5 years when things would be better.
Fast forward those 5 years and it was! I was married and mature- pregnant with my first baby actually- but Valentines still wasn't a good day. Yes! I was no longer single, happily married to a good man who I knew loved me, but something about that holiday- it was still a huge disappointment. Every man is different of course, and some are very romantically inclined, but not mine. And even though some years he's tried more than others, if I expect the day to be anything different than any other day, anything like some romantic movie, it won't be, and it will still be a disappointment!
One year I figured it out- I went to the scrapbook store and picked out a few pink and red sheets of paper and went to work at the die-cutting machine cutting out hundreds of hearts. I went home and sat down with my girls and we glued hearts all over cards and wrote notes to family and friends. It was so much fun! I think people liked getting our valentines in the mail too.
That is the secret- make the day what it used to be! Make cards with special messages and hearts for your friends, eat and share heart shaped sweets, decorate with pink and red paper hearts and doilies! Make the day about DOING, not about waiting for some great expression of love from someone else, and it will still be a great day! Let me know if you have tried this and what you think!