Friday, February 5, 2010

Remembering Valentine's Day

Ah Valentine's Day! A day full of the many opportunities to show your loved ones just how much you love them. Or is it?

I've thought back on Valentine's days from the past and have a wide variety of ways in which my perception of the holiday has changed as I've gotten older.

I remember being in grade school and getting a notice from our teacher about the upcoming Valentine's Day party at school. We were each provided with a list of all the children's names so we could work on our Valentine's at home. However during school that week, we got to decorate a shoebox for our mailbox to be used that day for all our friends to place their Valentine's in for each of us. I loved this time because I got to pull out all that red and white construction paper, and precisely begin cutting out the perfect heart shapes to glue to the box, along with laced dollies to add that perfect touch. We carefully wrote in white Elmer's glue our names along the top lid and sprinkled the still wet glue with glitter so that when it dried we had our Valentine's day masterpiece mailbox.

During lunch we all took the Valentines we had either made or purchased and carefully placed them into each mailbox for our class. Our bestest friends got the very best Valentine, along with some heart shaped candy, while the boys just got whatever we could put in a box for them. I remember quite fondly how excited I would be when I got home from school and could pull out my stuffed shoebox filled with colorful envelopes, covered with stickers and candy and read each and every single one. Oh to be so admired!

When I got older and boyfriends came into the picture, I would dream of just how he would plan this day. Would I receive flowers or chocolates? Would I get a handmade card or one he had stood in the aisle reading trying to find just that perfect one to describe all his feelings and undying love for me? I was fortunate to get a card and flowers, but the romance of all of it kept me living on cloud 9. It was a sign I was loved.

When I got married, Valentine's Day, were more challenging, dinner out or a home-made meal at home in front of a fire? Would I get a card, flowers, chocolate or something from the local jewelry store? Sometimes on rare occasions I would get all of them. Again these were signs for me, that he really and truly loved me.

When I was divorced and alone on Valentine's Day, it became the most despised day of the year. It was a reminder of just how alone I was with no one to show their love for me. While I went to work, I watched as countless women were called to come pick up a delivery of beautiful red roses in a shimmering glass vase, with cute stuffed bears and balloons attached. I hated Valentine's Day.

Yet it wasn't until I got older in my 40's that I began to see what this was for most men, a staged holiday to prove your undying love to your spouse or girlfriend. This was the biggest day filled with pressure for most men. If they didn't do something or do it right, they were bound to hear about it from the women in their lives. What I had failed to see all those years prior, was how many times on non-holiday days that my boyfriends or husband did something out of the ordinary to show his love for me. Shouldn't it be during those moments that I make the most big deal out of it, instead of waiting to see how he measures up to everyone else's man?

So I have let my hubby off the hook for Valentine's day. He knows that he doesn't have to do anything to show me his love. I see it when no one is looking, on those days where he comes home early and makes me dinner, or when I am sick and he cleans the whole house and waits on me hand and foot so I can stay in bed. There are even those moments when he calls out of the blue and tells me he loves me and can't wait to make it home to give me a giant hug, or leaves me a note in my car so when I am leaving to take the kids from work, I see how much love is in one little love note.

Yes, those days are the one's I celebrate and while the romance of Valentine's day lingers, I save it for the kids. I make pink cupcakes and cookies and help them print out all their Valentine's day cards for school. I help them make the most of their memories and teach them that you can show your love everyday, not just on one day in particular.

Happy Valentine's Day Steve, I love you! What was your most memorable Valentines day or how do you celebrate it now?


Debby@Just Breathe said...

I use to enjoy doing the covered shoe boxes and getting valentines.
It was so much fun. I remember how hard it was when I was divorced too. You are so right, it is a day with pressure on men. I think it is fun for new lovers. I would rather my husband bring me flowers just because on some other day when it doesn't cost a fortune. We do the same thing.

Danae Hudson said...

Honestly? My husband and I used to do a little bit for Valentine's Day. Like get dinner together, but it was never a big deal. But the most significant one would great-grandmother's funeral. After that, we've never really celebrated the day at all.

LV said...

Back in my really young days, I loved valentine day. Especially when in school. We silly girls could not wait to see who would get the most from boys. The things we used to do were fun times at least.

Andrea said...

We usually have a special dinner. I know he loves me and he knows I love him.

Hope you are having an awesome day. I am under a blanket of snow again, here on the east coast. Sitka loves it.

Pray we do NOT lose power.


Darcie said...

AMEN!!! I have a planned post on this exact subject for next week. Not that I am a scrooge about it, but even my 16 year old daughter mentioned how at school, it is just a day to show off. To see who has the better what they buy their girlfriends! SO sad. I hate to's just a way for the retail world to make money. We do enjoy a dinner together...other than that...we agree not to waste our money.

Denise said...

Enjoyed this post.

Deb said...

You are such a sweetheart! I'm sure that your hub so appreciates that you've let him off the hook.

No Valentine's Day stress or extra expense.

I agree with you. Forget the box of candy. Just cook dinner for me!

Sweet dreams.

Kathleen said...

Some years we make it a special day; other years it passes with little fanfare. I'm thinking it would be great fun this year to make our own Valentine cards (like we did in grade school), and send them to our kids and grandkids.


Jane In The Jungle said...

My most memorable one was the time my hubby got me a Dirt Devil Hand Vac so I would have an easier time vaccuming the stairs, he thought it was the greatest gift he could give me!!!! And we're still married!!! Over the years together it's dwindled...he really is not a Valentine's Day kinda guy...the only thing I do require is a card...just to see what goofy one he comes up with, we go more for laughs then the mushy stuff!!

He & Me + 3 said...

WE don't really celebrate VAlentines Day either. We try to go out to eat together...but nothing special...
we let each other off the hook:)

Mich said...

Usually a card is in order, but we rarely do anything really special. I know he loves me... I'm allergic to chocolate and even though I love flowers, they fade away. I just feel blessed to have him.

petrii said...

I hadn't thought about those shoe box valentine boxes in a long time. What a sweet time. I loved getting all of those valentines.

Valentine's Day for me has been up and down through the years. It was so difficult after my first husband passed away, now it is much like yours is now. I know that my husband loves me. I see it every single day. He is my hero.

Thank you for this post. I've loved reminiscing. Hope you are well today friend.

Love you,

Sit A Spell said...

I've been away from blogging b/c of our big move. I pray you find help in your new doctor. One hard thing about moving is finding new doctors. I have a couple of constant pain issues and need to find one sooner than later.

Sounds like y'all had a fun time on the birthday outing! I have an itouch and love it. I hope she does too.

Crown of Beauty said...

I like this post, it is so honest, and also expresses what I feel about Valentines Day.

FOr sure there are exceptions, but in my opinion, Valentines is one big commercial event. Period.

Ernie my husband used to say, we show each other love everyday, so what's the big deal with Valentines?

We got a big laugh one time when a friend said that Valentines is for guilty husbands and disgruntled wives!

That was really funny! Now these are just my personal views, and I have no problem with people who really want to celebrate that special day with their loved ones.


Mary Moss said...

For the past 25 years Valentine's day has been somewhat "overshadowed" by the birth of our first child, Jennifer on February 5:-0

I do enjoy giving little cards and notes, inexpensive treats, etc., to friend and co-workers. When the kids were younger, we always decorated cookies or cupcakes and took treats to the staff at their respective schools (even in to high school).

My husband is not a "romantic" type, but like you have described your husband, he is steady and sure and I know without question I am loved desperately. That's the best Valentine's gift of all:-)

Thanks for sharing your journey.

~*Michelle*~ said...

Hmmmmmmm, I def. agree with this "holiday" bringing too much stress on men. Have you seen the prices of the V-day cards these days? YIKES!

My husband is not perfect by all means, but he shows me his love the majority of the other 364 days.....see? I didn't say all... *wink

I also tell him not to fall into the "world's" pressure of buying the overpriced flowers and chocolates. I am just as happy hanging in, with comfy clothes and having our favorite meal together.

The only perfect 365 day 24/7 ultimate love is from Jesus.

This was a great post...

Cathy said...

What a great post and reminder.

christy rose said...

We do nothing routinely for Valentines. Usually we try to go out to eat by ourselves. But last year we stayed home with all of our kids and I fixed a filet steak and shrimp dinner for all of us. It was a lot of fun. We all celebrated our love for each other together. I think this year we are going out by ourselves again. We need a date!!! LOL

Amy said...

So sweet! I love Valentine's Day memories from my childhood too. I don't need anything from my husband on a day that someone else stated is to be romantic. I am much more impressed when he just presents me with a flower or a card on a 'regular' day:)

Anonymous said...

My husband and I go out without the kids . . . which is always a treat!

Joyce said...

Lots of pressure on this day, I agree. We don't really make a big deal of it. My husband is very thoughtful and does special things for me throughout the year so I don't get too worked up on Feb 14th.

I loved it as a kid though...I have a thing for cards : )

Leslie said...

I am with you Kat! We've never made a huge deal out of Valentine's Day. In the beginning, it was because we had no money. Also, our anniversary is in March, and we'd rather celebrate that than the "Hallmark" holiday. (It will be 20 years next month!)

My husband & I usually exchange cards and give the kids each a small box of candy. Then we enjoy a nice dinner at home (something a little fancier than usual).

Happy Valentine's Day!

Love & Hugs, Leslie