When I was little we didn't keep any of the conventional Anglo-Christian holidays, and looking from the outside in, Valentine's Day seemed quite lovely. A day to tell people that you loved them? Nice. I spent long hours imagining the beribboned and befrilled cards I would have made for all my friends, if only I was allowed, and accepted their cards with sorrowful pleasure and a large measure of guilt, knowing I would just have to throw them away later.
As a youth, I always had at least a couple beaux waiting in the wings. Valentine's was a day for raking in loot, letting the admiration feed the gaping hole where my self esteem would have been, if I had any. To get roses or poetry or some dorky stuffed animal (dudes, what is it with the dorky stuffed animals?) meant that I was pretty, desirable, wanted, made me feel slightly less like some unspeakable thing that had crawled out from under a rock somewhere...at least for an hour or two.
In my early adulthood/early marriage I still really liked Valentine's day. What could be wrong with a day that reminded you that romance is important? I would throw myself into it with my customary gusto, cooking elaborate dinners, saucy lingerie, heartfelt love letters -the works.
That's right, I give Valentine's an offhanded, ennui-laden "meh".
First off it falls on the BIG, GIANT birthday week. 4 short days before the birthday, and I am busy. (Nintendo themed this year, in case you were wondering.)
Second of all, I have finally developed a little compassion for what a wretched day it can be for some people. The girls (or boys) who didn't get a bunch of Valentine's loot, and felt that meant they weren't pretty or wanted. Or how about those poor boys (or girls) who, screwing their courage to the sticking post, made the grand romantic gesture only to have it rejected or collected like just one more trophy, with no thought for the giver. Or the women (or men) who are out there, busy with careers, determined not to settle for the wrong person or simply OK with standing on their own two feet and not even looking, why do they have to have Hallmark and hearts shoved in their faces at every turn? Made to feel somehow less than because they have neither the facility nor the desire for romantic love on this particular day?
And third, and I guess this is the biggie. I don't need the reminder. 15 years of marriage. 15 years of building love on top of love year after year. I don't need a reminder to think longingly of him. I don't need a reminder to put on that tight t-shirt, the one that he really likes, just so I can see lust and appreciation unfurl in his eyes. Don't need a reminder to cook the things he likes, or to tell him thank you again and again for all the ways he makes our lives better. Don't need a reminder to spend time together. We are hungry for each other's bodies and each other's company. We flirt and joke, connect and seduce. The mundane becomes romantic. There are pleasures to be found amidst the routine, and we find them...a stolen kiss as we pass in the kitchen, a joyful reunion at each small parting, an offer of help, an ever-growing willingness to let the small stuff go and to just let each other be, flaws and all, and to love each other anyway. And fun, there is always fun to be had. We laugh a lot. I don't need a holiday and accompanying TV commercial blitz to remind me of any of this, especially not on a busy week when expectations just become a burden.
To see him or hear his key at the door is enough to make me remember on any regular old day.
11 hours ago