Whimsy up your weekend post numero cinco – why I’ve had a change of heart about Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day and I have had some highs and lows.  As a kid, I liked it for the parties we’d have at school.  Man, I used to make out like a candy bandit (a candit!)!  Our parents would make an array of treats that would be spread out on a table in the back of the room like a dessert buffet of pink frosted chocolate cupcakes, sugar cookies with pink icing and brownies topped with sugar (basically tons of sugar with a sugar coating).  Everyone’s parents made us write out a valentine for everyone in the class so no one ever felt left out.  Valentine’s Day and I were cool then.

In middle school it was fine too but it was a bummer to no longer have those parties.  Then came high school.  My sophomore year, I finally had a boyfriend (emphasis on finally is placed by my 15 year-old self who thought I was sooo old to be having a boyfriend for the first time).  It was fun and exciting to buy him chocolates and also to get from him a fancy, lovey-dovey card with lots of red cursive writing about his feelings for me (written by Hallmark, of course).  In hindsight, it was kinda creepy because we hadn’t been dating for even two months yet…

He and I broke up in January of my senior year.  All my closest friends had boyfriends at the time and I felt alone and left-out.  I somehow distorted this experience into a foreshadowing of my future where I’d always be alone and my friends would be with these boys forever.  Of course I was dramatic and of course my friends and their boyfriends were all broken up within a year but still… February 14th of that year was not a good day for me.  I think I went out to dinner with my parents.

Then came college and it was fun at first, hanging with my new friends who were also single.  We made each other Valentine’s Day cards and took ourselves out to nice dinners.  My sophomore year I again had a boyfriend.  We were only about five months into our relationship but things between us had been strained over the past month.  On Valentine’s Day, we hung out but argued the whole time and I ended up crying and feeling worse than I’d ever felt on Valentine’s Day before, including my dramatically horrible single senior year of high school Valentine’s Day.  He and I were no longer together by the end of the school year and that was my first real experience with heart break.  It wasn’t pretty.  I was a sobbing mess for many months then weepy for many more.  Yeah…

That Valentine’s experience stayed with me for a long time.  So even as years passed and I got over him and eventually moved on and dated new people I still eschewed Valentine’s Day whether I was single or not.  I would say to myself (and whomever else was listening), that Valentine’s Day is a stupid, commercialized holiday and why do we need a holiday to celebrate our relationships when we should do that every day?  When my husband and I had our first Valentine’s together (eight years after the awful one with my college ex), I told him I wasn’t big on Valentine’s Day and didn’t need to celebrate it.  When I showed up at his place that day, there were chocolates and a card for me.  And for him, I’d gotten nothing…  Oops.  I kept saying, “I meant that I don’t like Valentine’s Day, I didn’t just say it so you wouldn’t feel pressure.”  He’s a chill, happy guy and was totally fine.  We’ve since made it a tradition to buy each other cheesy heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and a card.  It’s just something little.  Sometimes we go out for dinner, sometimes not.  In the city, we were less likely to go out because every restaurant created a prix-fixe menu and jacked up their prices.  Dude, if I’m going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day on a cold winter night, I don’t want no prix-fixe menu, I want choices, a whole menu of choices!

Anyways I still think Valentine’s Day is commercialized and is kind of silly.  And on a societal level Valentine’s Day excludes a lot of people, LGBTQ folks and/or single folks, etc.  BUT this year I found myself looking forward to Valentine’s Day.  It was the first time in a very long time.  Something about celebrating love (of any kind) during frigid and dark February sounded real nice.  Because well, the December holidays are a time I’ve had mixed feelings about but I appreciate the light and warmth it brings to an otherwise dreary time of year.  Sometimes I wish those holidays came later in winter, like the end of January because darn some glow and cheer would be good then too!  So as I looked towards my first Valentine’s Day in my new house with my new husband, all I could think of was chocolate and pink and red decorations and a nice, cozy evening with him and a bottle of wine on a winter night and it suddenly seemed like something warm, happy and festive.  And that is something I could get excited about.  So happy hearts day, celebrate any love in your life!

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Valentine’s watermelon radishes.

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