Valentines Day has never been a big favorite of mine. If I were to rank the big holidays in order of which I like most to the ones I like least, this is one that I would put near the bottom. I like Halloween and St. Patrick's Day much more.
When I was a kid, it was just too pink. And too lavender - maybe I should say just too pastel, for me. I also associated this time of year with car sickness and being overly warm indoors, since my mom would dress me in very warm clothing, to protect me from the cold outside, but then I would get to school and roast to death. I also didn't like having to sign my name to all those little valentine cards, five a night, until they were finished. But I did it, thanks to the persistence of my parents. On the flip side, the day of school party, I would worry that I would show up and have no valentines in my wonderfully created out of construction paper and hearts valentines mailbox, that other parents would not be as diligent as mine. I never had an empty mailbox, but it didn't stop me from worrying.
As a married woman who has been with her husband since she was 17, I do view the holiday a bit differently than when I was in elementary school. At first in our marriage and courtship, I felt such pressure to be romantic. And in my mind, I thought this meant pink and flowers and nausea again. We had to go out to a fancy restaurant, etc. etc. And I enjoyed them, and so did Billy, but it never felt like us. The day became artificial, and inauthentic, except, obviously for our feelings for each other. We were doing what we thought we were supposed to do on Valentines Day, what we had assumed the day was about. And for some people, this is perfect for them. And that is fine too, it is just not Billy and I.
Now, we are more true to our relationship on Valentines Day, and in fact, it is not such a big deal. We cook for each other, or eat at a local, small restaurant that serves good food, but not particularly fancy. We spend a day exploring new places, maybe, or just stay home and order Chinese and hang out together, something that does get lost in our everyday, between work and all our responsibilities. Sure, we celebrate each other, but we do it our way.
Caution- it gets a little sappy here.
I also feel like we show each other everyday, in small ways, that we love each other, like getting out of bed into the freezing cold to start coffee for the other, going somewhere you don't want to go at all without saying a word, simply because you know the other wants to do it, or when Billy fills my bird feeders in the middle of a blizzard because he knows I am worried about the birds.
We will celebrate Valentine's Day, but we remember to love each other everyday.
And hopefully, minus a lot of pastels.