What is it about Valentine’s Day that has ALWAYS left a sour taste in my mouth? Starting back in the 2nd grade, I learned that this day is nothing more than over-hyped bologna! Its so commercialized at this point there is absolutely no meaning left.The more I think about it, the more I realize Valentine’s Day really is my “bah-humbug” day because I can’t stop the sinister thoughts from flowing.
Tell me why elementary schools force kids to pass out cards to every kid in class? Why are we telling our first grade daughters to go around giving everyone a heart that says “be mine, hugs and kisses, XoXo”, and then we act surprised when they want to date the entire football team fifteen years later. Didn’t we set them up for that when we quit letting them pick and choose who to give their Valentine’s too? I think that rule (give every one a card) must have been fairly new when I was in elementary school, because I clearly remember there being a boy who let me know he only gave me a card because he HAD to. Oh well, I survived it. I learned right then that not every boy was gonna wanna XoXo with me.
Don’t get me wrong, I see the point, we want every kid to be treated the same, but I believe we’ve gone over board with every bit of it. Its gotten so ridiculous. All kids do is save up the cards in a paper sack along with their half-eaten cookies just long enough to survive the bus ride home, take one more bite of the cookie, and toss it all in the trash. They don’t read the cards anymore. And everyone has the same ones. It’s like a choice between Transformers and Dora the Explorer. There’s nothing original on them. That’s part of the reason the kids don’t even read them, they already saw them at Wal-mart when they were picking out their own box. Seriously, can’t we just call it cupcake day? That’s all the little kids want out of it anyway!
Back to the paper sacks… I’ve noticed they don’t even go all out and decorate a shoe box or a tissue box anymore. It’s just a paper bag full of paper cards. Now even the nursery schools want to have Valentine’s parties, and you have to send cards for all the little ones in the day care class. These kids can’t even read yet, please spare me the cards and let me just send heart shape rice krispie treats!
Did I mention I have 7 kids? Thank goodness two of them are past elementary school. So I have 5 kids with lists of names and boxes of cards to delve into. I will be stuck at the kitchen table tonight filling out 120 goofy little valentines that no one will ever look at. I’m just extremely grateful that so far none of my kids have turned out to be that one who obviously bought themselves the biggest box of chocolates coupled with the most obnoxious over-sized teddy bear to tote around at school all day with a made-up story in a desperate need for attention. (I sat with that girl at lunch in 7th grade, and I still can’t believe she managed to make me feel bad for my lack luster collection of goodies.)
What ever happened to making Valentine’s cards by hand, to saying things you really mean to people you want to say them to? I would love to open an envelope and see a little red heart that actually was filled with words originally intended to be for me. I don’t want some nerdy little Hallmark card writer to have come close enough to my man’s sentiments with their vague ramblings to deliver words of love to me. I want him to write down something, anything, that has to do with his true feelings and our journey. Tell me something so specific that I spend my day with absolutely no doubt that I have crossed your mind many times. Now that would knock my socks off and save $5 at the same time.
I can’t lie. In addition to my sappy poetry addiction, I’m that girl who is a complete sucker for flowers. I don’t care what kind. Spring flowers, roses, delphiniums, orchids, lilies, heck I’ll settle for gosh darned carnations surrounded by baby’s breath. I don’t care that they die in a week. I’ll keep them three more days just for the memories! Sure, I’ll take a potted plant and love it too, but nothing is so wonderful as walking by the table and glancing over at a beautiful bouquet bursting forth with blossoms. It’s a spirit lifter, and this time of year, spirits need lifting!
My sweet son came home from his Poppa’s with a dozen pink roses for his Mom. I’m sure Poppa and Memaw set that up, and I’m not complaining! My parents have always dished out the love on Valentine’s Day. They have given my sisters and me chocolates, balloons, flowers, trinkets, heck, once I even got a new vanity for the bathroom I was remodeling! (I love home improvement gifts!)
I can’t complain that I’ve been jilted on Valentine’s Day time and again, because that’s not the truth. The truth is that my romantic fantasies have created an almost impossible scenario to live up to. I do remember one year my hubby tried to appeal to my romantic notions, but it just didn’t work out too well. He tried to cover our bed in rose petals, with a sweet card, and candle light. I was happy to overlook the fact that the rose petals were artificial (he thought that would be an added bonus: Artificial = reusable), but somehow Blondie got wind of his plan, and made the entire night awkward. I came in the door from my evening college classes, and she started belting out “I”ve been feeling tired, BAY-BEE”. A preteen outside the bedroom door serenading just kind of killed the mood. Plus, the hubby is scared of candles, so I didn’t get to bask in the subtle glow for long.
So what would live up to my ideal Valentine’s Day? I want the works. I want a love letter, or a poem- nothing from Wal-mart; I want it handwritten. I want flowers and chocolates (I’ve never wanted chocolates before, but what the heck, it’s a fantasy, right?). I want candlelight and a bottle of wine. I want a romantic dinner and a chic-flick. And as long as I’m dreaming, let’s just throw in a diamond tennis bracelet for good measure.
In reality, I’ll settle for the love letter anytime. Even if it’s misspelled chicken scratch, nothing reels me in like a page of words written to me. I wanna be told that I am loved, and just how much. I want the words to hold onto, to cherish. I keep those little notes tucked away in all my special corners. Why am I that girl? The one who says “don’t waste your money on me,” when really I want some kind of acknowledgement that the love I feel is shared, (bonus if it comes in the shape of a red or pink heart)? Isn’t that where all this hoopla came from? The cards and the chocolates and the candles and the bottles of wine were all just vessels to deliver the messages of love that we all too often leave unsent. Girls crave those messages. We are silly and romantic and full of hope because we know the love, well the love is the true gift! The rest are just fringe benefits…