I have to confess. Valentine’s Day means nothing to me. I used to love it . . . in elementary school when the holiday promised heart-shaped cookies and lacy hearts and an afternoon party during school. My mom would make sure I wore red or pink to school. What’s not to love?
But for the last thirty years? Valentine’s Day has been a non-event. Oh, wait. I remember my first married Valentine’s Day. In 1988, it must have been on a Sunday, because I remember after church spending the day with my husband . . . and a bunch of young people from the church we were attending. I wanted to confide in the mom of the house–she was probably forty-five, maybe fifty–and I wanted to ask her about marriage and did she worry that her husband didn’t think she was pretty anymore and would she please be my mentor and my friend and help, help, help, I’m lonely, even though I’m married. You’re okay. Am I okay?
I can’t remember other specific Valentine’s Days, though my husband always brings me chocolate and a card and sometimes a teddy bear or something. But a gradual realization has dawned over recent years. I’m not very romantic. I have a very low need for romance. Perhaps I can blame this on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs . . . I’m always stuck in the “need sleep” stage of life, it seems. I’m just pragmatic, sensible, apt to choose comfort over fashion. I have no poetry in my soul, other than the tried and true: “I had a little tea party, this afternoon at three; t’was very small, three guests in all, just I, Myself and Me; Myself ate up the sandwiches, while I drank up the tea; T’was also I who ate the pie and passed the cake to Me.” (Thank you, Miss Brittingham, third-grade teacher.)
My husband, though, appears to be moving closer to the romance spectrum of life while I inch away, bit by bit. And so, with some alarm, I opened my eyes wider in dismay when he announced, “I thought of the perfect Valentine’s Day gift! And it’s not too expensive, either.” (He already brought me two dozen red roses with the reassuring thought that they are less expensive now, only $19.99 at Costco and they are really quite lovely.)
Oh no! We’re doing Valentine’s Day? I mean, beyond a card and chocolate? Does this require creative thinking on my part? My creative powers are exhausted by the challenge of examining the American Revolution, battle-by-battle, while comforting the baby who bit his lip and negotiating with my little
terrorist daughter who wants to cut with scissors right now and wondering, all the while, what we’ll have for dinner that will take ten minutes to prepare because I forgot to get something in the crockpot again.
I’m a married woman. Nineteen years in July, as a matter of fact. As I see it, that’s my own personal Valentine’s Day. Is this not enough? Can we not leave Valentine’s Day to elementary schools?