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Friday, February 13, 2009

A Valentines Epistle

Here it comes... the time of year I love and hate all at the same time.

Yes- Valentine's Day.

As a child growing up, I adored this holiday. (If you can call it that. Some think true holidays are those you actually get off of school and work, and my husband swears that it isn't a holiday just because the greeting card companies say it is, but that's an argument for later. But I say it's a holiday because people do special things on this particular day, which makes it a holiday.) I loved making my giant envelopes or mail boxes in school and decorating them. (Mine was always the prettiest! hee hee) I loved carefully writing notes on each valentine, being sure to word them just right so the boys I really liked would have some hint that I liked them, and the boys I absolutely couldn't stand would know I wasn't interested in them in any way, but also didn't get their feelings hurt with a mean valentine. These things were very difficult to do!

I loved the buzz in the air on Valentine's Day. We'd come home from school and start getting our valentines ready to take around to our friends. (After getting my own son all excited a few years ago at secretly leaving them on people's doorsteps, knocking, and running away, and explaining how people do it to him, and he has to be sure to try and catch them, and having no one come to our house that night at ALL, I realized this practice was extinct when questioning other parents after the fact, and seeing their raised eyebrows and their "what the heck are you talking about" expressions. Ok, so I'm a little out-dated!) We loved it when it snowed just enough that day to be able to place the valentines on the porch, then wad up a snow ball and throw it at the door so we could have a head start to get away quickly. I always got caught, though. I was never what you would call athletic!

I remember as I got older, especially in High School seminary, we would still carry on the valentine giving tradition. One year, the entire seminary made large heart envelopes and hung them up in the halls of the seminary building. Then, on Valentines day after school we could go and take our hopefully- packed envelopes down and read through all the notes- some anonymous. I remember the excitement I felt when I'd read some like: I think you're very pretty, or You have gorgeous hair, and once I even got one that said "I wish I was brave enough to ask you out". Ya, it made my whole week! (However, sometimes you would wonder who had given you those notes and think, is this someone I WANT liking me? I guess it was good I never really knew who wrote the notes! Better to imagine it was the hot football player in your seminary class with a secret crush on y9u!)

And of course, there's the deciphering of the generic valentine as well. You know, Billy- who you think is sooooo cute, gives you a valentine that says "You're Tops! Be my Valentine!" and you wonder, does he really think I'm tops, like the best? And is he really saying he wants me to be his valentine, or did he just randomly sign his name and plop it into my envelope with no thought as to what it meant? I hated to think someone could be that cavalier with their valentine sentiments when I would spend hours picking the right valentines for each student, but some people have no respect for the holiday.

Having a son of my own, I can see now how little thought was put into valentines given to classmates by boys. I pick up valentines for my son at the store, and he is not usually present when I do this- nor does he care. I bring home Spider Man valentines this year that change the picture as they move, and he says "Cool." Last year I got weird distorted animals with funny eyes and his reaction: "Cool." I think if I'd gotten Hannah Montana valentines his reaction would be the same: "Cool". Last night he scribbled his name on the bottom of each valentine, then addressed them to the students without even bothering to notice if he was sending them to a boy or a girl. I was shocked! "Don't you want to give certain ones to certain girls?" I asked, stunned. "Nah.... it doesn't matter, mom." Is this really how the boys were when I was growing up? It doesn't matter???? All those hours I spent with my girl friends deciphering and decoding what each valentine could possibly mean? Big wake up call for me!

When I was in my dating years, Valentine's day became a little more complicated. If I had a boyfriend at the time, I loved it. Sadly, it seemed that I'd always manage to break up with my boyfriends shortly before the day and would not get anything from a significant other. I spent a lot of valentine's days with my fall-back boyfriends, Ben and Jerry. I looked forward to the day when I would get married and have a permanant valentine. I knew when that happened I could count on special valentines days for the rest of my life! Again, I was very misguided.

My husband is of the opinion that Valentine's day is a day thought up by the greeting card companies to make you spend money. (The greeting card companies capitalize on EVERY holiday- I don't think that means you boycott the day! Make a homemade card, for Heaven's sake!) So, he has made it very clear he dislikes anything and everything to do with Valentine's Day. He says, "I give you flowers at other times of the year, why do I have to do it particularly on Valentine's Day?" or "I don't need the greeting card companies to tell me when so say I love you." Yes, you are technically right there. However, when practically every other woman is getting valentine's on this day from their loved ones, why do you make a point- on this ONE DAY- to NOT do something special????

So, you see why this day is bitter sweet? I still get giddy around this time of year. I love picking out my son's valentines for his clasmates, even if he doesn't give a hoot about it. I love picking out a special toy for my son and making him a great card and having it sitting on the couch when he gets home from school on Valentine's day. I love making a special card and a very fancy dinner for my two guys, and eating by candlelight, with fancy china, on Valentine's night. (Yes, I make dinner for my husband and son. Well, I'm not going to get taken out anywhere, so I might as well let them know how special they are to me- right?) I am never quite sure if I'm going to get flowers, or a card, or chocolates, or anything, although my husband has gotten a bit better. The past few years he has brought me home something, and tried very hard not to roll his eyes while giving it to me. Thank you, honey!

So, my hopes and dreams of sickenly romantic Valentine's days are not to be. I will, however, forever love this holiday, and do all I can for the ones I love to let them know that, on this particular day, I am thinking extra hard about them. Though my views have changed a bit, harsh realities brought to light, the sentiment is still the same.

Happy Valetine's Day!!!!!


Jen said...

I have always loved Valentine's Day too, boyfriend, husband or not. My main reason, though, is that I really like wearing pink and red together and decorating everything with hearts. What a girly girl I am! The secret valentines delivery thing isn't that outdated...I used to do it when I was younger...what a sad tradition to be gone!

Ryan and Shannan Hoffman said...

Tell Merritt to pony up and get you some flowers! :) I love Valentines day, like you. I love makign sugar cookies and delivering them, and flowers, and fun times, and something to look forward to in the middle of the bleak winter.