Valentine's Day always holds lots of baggage for me, on several levels. So let me start off by saying, I don't really care to celebrate it.
Chris and I started dating 23 years ago (this past Saturday), when he invited me to his fraternity's Valentine's Day dance. I knew he finally was interested in me (I had been pursuing for a couple of months) because he had plans that weekend with a mutual friend, Todd, that he cancelled to take me to his fraternity's party on February 9th. I knew if he cancelled Todd for me, there was going to be some action. That was the day we started to date and that's the day we celebrate in February (though Chris sometimes argue we should celebrate the 10th because we didn't kiss until after midnight).
So this past Saturday, after having a great lunch with Janet and Alan at Lupa, we came home in the evening and celebrated with a light meal of prosecco and caviar. Chris made a playlist for his iPod, entitled Music to Grope By 2 (last year we had Music to Grope by 1 - a new tradition was born), and he gave me this fabulous card:
Of course, being who I am, I had to rib him ever so slightly by noting what a fabulous card but he didn't even sign it "Love." Still, it amazes me that we've been together for 23 years and he can still surprise me with things like that card, and the playlist.
Now, my issues with Valentine's Day. They are on two levels, food and love. First the food, when I was a child, my mom would get me a small valentine's heart filled with candy each year. Then one year it stopped. I felt horrible when it stopped, when she switched to flowers. Do you know why it stopped? It stopped because I was getting fat. No one said it but we all knew and I felt hurt and insulted. Yes I should have been grateful for the flowers, but when you believe someone is subtly calling you fat, it's hard to be grateful for anything. Years later, I insisted on the chocolate again (yes - ingrate that I am), and Mom complied because at some point she accepted there wasn't anything she could do to make me lose weight and take care of my body, it had to come from me. Thank god she realized that because her acceptance of me and of that fact I think was one of the things that has helped me on this journey. I get flowers now from her and my Dad every year, they smell great and they look beautiful.
Okay - on the love front - c'mon who are we kidding? Must we really have a holiday where card companies, candy makers, jewelers, florists and restaurants make a buck off the poor innocent male trying to get laid? Or how about a holiday that isolates people who don't have a significant other, making them feel, less "worthy?" Remember the kid in class who didn't get any of those stupid Peanuts valentines? And here I am pressured to do something not only for my spouse but for my kids? One year, I'd love to organize a boycott of this holiday.
All that said, though, I still bought some funny cards for the girls and Chris. And the girls will probably receive some Barnes and Noble gift cards today (enough for a single book each - only because I'm too lazy to go to the mall and get them something from Bath and Body Works). I've never given them candy hearts (though their other grandma used to), so at least that's one less piece of baggage I'm passing down.