Those two words have meant many different things to me over the course of my life. When I was in elementary school, Valentine’s Day was a fun day when you got to exchange Valentine’s Day cards with your classmates. I remember buying those cute little rectangular cards and picking just the perfect one for each person I gave them too. Some got a card from the Winnie the Pooh stack, while others from the Donald Duck or Mickey / Minnie Mouse stack.
I remember the excitement too, of coming back to my desk and seeing a pile of Valentine cards waiting for me with my name scrawled across the envelope. It was awesome! To this day I still have all the Valentine’s Day cards I received in elementary school. The cards bring back memories of those days, including the giddiness I felt from receiving a card from the boy I had a crush on in my class!
Fast forward to high school and Valentine’s Day had changed. No longer did 14 year olds give out cute Valentine Day cards. At the most you may get a candy gram, but even that was a long shot because you had to pay $1 for those! (I do remember the odd time however when I did receive a candy gram from one of my friends and that was really sweet.)
Valentine’s Day in high school though, did also remind me of the fact that I did not have a boyfriend (or someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with), especially since some of my friends already had boyfriends by this point. It was a feeling that I hated having and one, that unbeknownst to me at the time, I would experience for several more year to come! (Yes, university was another four years of being reminded of the same.) The whole “screw Valentine’s Day – let’s go out as single ladies and have fun” was never something my single friends and I did, so that meant Valentine’s Day turned out to be a day when I went home and did my best to avoid all sorts of media coverage of men buying flowers and chocolates for the special ladies in their life or restaurants being booked solid with reservations etc. I came to dislike Valentine’s Day with a capital D, and felt that it was just another way for our consumeristic society to encourage people to spend money on chocolates / candy / flowers / dinner etc.
Then I met my husband a year after university and you know what happens next, right?
I LOVED Valentine’s Day with a capital L! Loved it! I was finally a “couple” and got to partake in all the things I saw other couples do all those prior Valentine’s Day. I got the chocolates, the flowers and the dinner! Every year my husband managed to surprise me and Valentine’s Day was something I now eagerly anticipated!
Last week, my husband and I were watching TV and I said to him, “Valentine’s Day is next week. What did you want to do?” He said, “I don’t know. What did we do last year?” I said, “We made our usual home-made seafood dinner, got dressed up and set the table for three (our cat sits on a chair at the table with us).” “Okay–let’s do that again”, he said. “Okay”, I said. I then added, “…I know Valentine’s Day is a commercialized day and such, but I still like it. And I still want to celebrate it and do something like we always do. You don’t need to stand in a long line at the flower shop and we don’t need to go out to a crowded restaurant, but we should do something like we always have…”
I realize Valentine’s Day has become very commercialized nowadays, and that in essence it’s just another “day of the week”. I know some people roll their eyes at it if they knew you celebrated it. But all it means is that my husband and I put in a little bit of extra effort to cook a fancier meal, put on some nice clothes (tomato sauce stained and garlic infused shirts kinda take away from the mood) and enjoy a great dining experience in our dining room with yummy food and wine!
You see, my husband and I always did something for Valentine’s Day, so it’s been a tradition of ours since we’ve been together! Why not continue to keep the tradition alive? Why not find another excuse to be romantic, or do something romantic for or with your other-half? Sure you don’t need anyone telling you that you should be romantic today, but for those of you who want to crank up the romance in your relationship, February 14 is the perfect excuse to do so! And while I agree that you should not wait until February 14 to say or do something nice for your spouse, I do feel the day can be used to enhance your relationship. (The pairing of wine and chocolate doesn’t hurt either!)
For me personally, Valentine’s Day has become yet another day to kick up the romance in my marriage, and when opportunities like that arise, I will definitely take them up! I’m a hopeless romantic, what can I say? You know what the best part about this is though?… My husband and I do all this on the cheap — we have a mortgage and bills to pay now — without it ever seeming that way. That in itself, is reason enough to celebrate! 🙂
Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!