Valentine’s Day sure has changed over the years. Last night, before I went to sleep, I whispered to my husband, “I didn’t even get you a card, this year”. He doesn’t do cards, barely even does gifts (did I tell you about my first birthday when we were engaged when he got me an electric toothbrush?!), but I do. So usually when we have holidays, like birthdays or our anniversary, I get some heartfelt or funny card and put it on his nightstand or sneak it into his briefcase so he finds it either when he wakes up or when he gets to the office. One year it was the big one’s footprints, made into the shape of a heart, said “I Heart Daddy.” I think last year, both of the kids feet might have been made into hearts. I can’t remember, now. Sometimes, he gets me silly cards, sometimes he just gets me the first card he picks up at the store and sometimes just nothing. One year he got me a card with a dancing hamster in it. I’m pretty sure he thinks he’s exempt from trying too hard for awhile from that one. It was pretty great. Regardless, I knew holidays like this would be different once I was married but I’m not sure I knew they would be quite this different and I didn’t think I’d be throwing in the towel so early. But the kids are little, and I’m pregnant, and sick with a nasty cold. Let’s just call it an off year.
If we’re being honest, it all feels like a silly holiday, now. I’m not sure why it never did, before, but it just seems like there is so much pressure to have big plans with big, romantic gestures, but like, it’s just a Tuesday. We should really be showing each other that we love each other every day, and not making a bigger deal about this particular Tuesday, just because it’s Valentine’s Day. And I know that some moms might be shaming me because I didn’t even bother to get my kids heart themed outfits for this year. And then I didn’t post their picture anywhere to document how much more I love them today in their heart themed (or not) glory. The horror.
I remember when I was a kid, it was all about the Valentine’s, the cards. Which card do we give to which person and how do we sign it if we actually sort of love them but don’t actually want them to know because they probably think we are gross, anyway. You know, that crazy, ‘I might just die’ love that we have at 10 or 12. When I was single, in my twenties, it was all about the “anti-Valentine’s Day” or “singles awareness” which, essentially was a bunch of single people going to a bar, trying to meet people so that they would no longer be single. Hmm. Sounds like trouble. It usually was. And then when I finally actually had a Valentine, well, that was a super big deal and must be celebrated as such, since it happened so infrequently. And then I got married and it just became like any other day. My husband usually gives in to the hype and will pick up some overpriced flowers, but otherwise, we just go about our normal lives because we’re tired and we have little kids and that’s just how things are, right now.
In thinking about all of this now, I wonder whether I had to go through all of these steps in order to come to this realization. Do we have to be giddy and nervous and then desperate and depressed and then sappy and lovey in order to finally understand that it’s just the same as any other day and (just like the size on the inside of our clothes) we shouldn’t let the day dictate how we feel about ourselves as successfully singled or coupled?
Maybe. I’m not sure. But the point I would venture to make is that, just like so many other things in life, we get to decide how we feel about things and how we react to “silly holidays made to make us feel bad about ourselves.” No one told you that you should feel bad about yourself. Maybe you think the subliminal messages in advertising or commercials told you to. Maybe you think your past experiences told you to. But I’m telling you, that you control it and you get to decide. I mean, it’s just a Tuesday in February. And maybe it’s a Tuesday when you get flowers or get to eat cake (and not have to share it at that), but again, that could still very well be any Tuesday. Cake and flowers do not discriminate. Neither do Tuesdays. Or leggings. Happy Valentine’s Day (or Tuesday) to you!
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