I don’t hate Valentine’s Day, but I’m pretty lukewarm about it.
I do, however, love love.
I grew up in the pre-PC days before teachers sent home class lists so no one would be excluded in the Valentine’s party and card exchange. I wasn’t the creepy kid with the greasy hair and the wrong kind of shoes, but I wasn’t the pretty little thing with the straight blonde hair and hordes of admirers, either.
I think that’s when I learned to be cynical and sarcastic. Right about the time the creepy kid got hundreds of valentines as a mean and hurtful prank. It was far worse than getting nothing at all.
By the time I was in high school, I was sufficiently annoyed by the whole process to never give it any mind. I usually had a little boyfriend or some poor dear pining after me (and I was surely pining after someone else) that sent a club-sponsored candygram to me in front of God and Country. It was more about being liked than being liked by the right person. How many of us are hurt by this ridiculous pressure today?
The single half-dead rose or cheap little stuffed animal that found its way into my hands, whether or not I liked the boy who mustered up the courage to send it, was a symbol of belonging to a status group I really didn’t want, but was pressured to belong to because the commercials and radio said I should.
When Cupid’s aim finally found its true mark, I had already lost interest in Valentine’s Day altogether. Okay – mostly. Who needs a holiday to declare our unending love for one another? We celebrate that on the anniversary of when we actually did declare our love for one another before God and Country (okay, God and family and friends).
Valentine’s Day is barely on my radar these days. I hate to think my husband feels obligated to buy me chocolate (I love it, but don’t need it – and in fact, should stay away from it); send me flowers (I have a lovely garden that he provided); take me to dinner (he’s a fantastic cook); or give me diamonds (I’d rather go away for the weekend with him).
He shows me his love in myriad ways that are more expressive than being suckered into meaningless gifts.
Want to know the nicest thing he ever got me?
A 99-cent shaker of cinnamon and sugar because he noticed I ate cinnamon toast on cold mornings, and I was always making a mess trying to get the sugar/cinnamon ratio right. I know. This man has bought me houses, new cars, dream vacations, and diamonds, and the gift I loved most of all was a little bit of spice.
That’s right. He puts the spice in my life.
I loved that gift because it came from a place of such sweet and affectionate love that I was absolutely undone in that moment.
He knew what I liked. He noticed what I did. He thought of me while on an errand and spontaneously did something that would bring me joy.
On this February 14th, and each subsequent day, without the bidding of a half-nekkid cherub, he continues to bring me joy.