Have I ranted about Valentine's Day before? Other than how much I really, really have no desire to get chocolates today (or any other day?) Or how shortening the name to VD sounds like a communicable disease. And using V-Day isn't really proper either, considering it is also the name for the anniversary of the day we "won" WWII (if you can ever really win a war.)
The way I see it, Valentines Day is for lovers still trying to impress each other. I do actually feel it is totally acceptable to make this day an excuse to express feelings that may or may not have been expressed before. However, vying for the same chocolate dipped strawberries and super-sized balloon as every other person at the grocery store is just silly. If there is someone that you want to impress or express your feelings to, go ahead, just do it in a personal and reasonable way. Going "all out" is just setting a dangerous precedence. Every year you have to prove that THIS DAY of all days is better than the one last year and (more importantly) is better for you than for any of your friends, frenemies, or co-workers. You end up with a chocolate and rose-filled arms race! Besides, can you really confess true love to someone while crammed together with 40,000 other couples doing the exact same thing? It sounds a bit questionable to me.
So, if you don't have a lover then you are off the hook and be thankful you don't have to buy crappy chocolate and overpriced flowers that will die in the next few days anyway. Do something special to remind yourself that You love You. Every morning and every night YOU are the only one that for SURE you will be with, so make every moment you have by yourself count. Love yourself and treat yourself as wonderfully as you want. You already know what flavor ice cream you like best or which dance club you enjoy most. If you have been putting off doing something luxurious for yourself, take the excuse. Book a massage or buy that game you've really been wanting. Please don't sit at home alone and be mopey or depressed. Remember - there are thousands of people out there that would cut off a limb to get a night alone doing whatever THEY want to do. You are in an extremely enviable position.
Also, if you already have someone and you both are already impressed with each other, you should be let off the hook, too. For starters, you shouldn't have to wait until Valentine's Day to do something special. Why not choose ANY OTHER DAY of the year and make it special so that you and your sweetie can enjoy each other without the rush and bustle and exchange personal and/or sexy gifts that are specific to your own tastes. Just agree between the two of you that some other date can be special and romantic and filled with sweet treats and goofy cards. Maybe it's an anniversary of a date that is special to the two of you - wedding, or first kiss, or whatever you like to remember - just make it meaningful and go with it. You will not regret it (and neither will your credit card.)
Now, in spite of this all, I'm not really OFFENDED at the idea of showering your sweetie/spouse/domestic partner/future lover with some attention, affection, and maybe a heartfelt gift. I just think maybe people make too big a deal about it. Ok... Actually, WOMEN make too big a deal about it. I mean, seriously! Why should we demand that someone "gifts" you or else their unworthiness will be punished and posted on every social media network available. Why must so many of my fellow females compare the "romantic" overtures and gifts received to every other year and/or every other person getting gifts around you. It just isn't nice or fair. Didn't Momma teach you better manners than that? Why can't we all just agree to take things less seriously?
While this sounds a whole lot like "sour grapes" I assure you it is not because of being slighted in any way during the "season of lovers." In fact, I have had some pretty stellar dates - and gifts - for the sake of Valentines Day. The reality just never measures up to the expectations. What on earth am I going to do with a stuffed animal holding a dinky red heart pillow? Dinner out at a jazz club sounds divine, doesn't? It isn't so awesome when the place is packed to the walls, so noisy you can't hear the band, and you are only allowed to sit at the table for so long before you are rudely ushered out because someone else has reservations, too. And have you SEEN the price of roses? Not today... four weeks ago. Or a month from now. It is outrageous how prices are inflated during the first two weeks of February! Why on earth would you WANT someone to pay THAT MUCH MORE for something that isn't worth nearly that much on any other day of the year. For the price of a dozen, I could get a new pair of shoes. Buy me a rose in July. I'd much rather have the shoes today, thank you.
Since I have three daughters, I am a bit torn on how to handle this with them. The oldest one has a steady boyfriend, and I know she expects a lot of insanity like all the other high school girls do. I am thankful that the other two haven't reached this stage yet. For them, Valentine's is just another excuse to eat Red 40 laden cookies and candy and exchange papers covered with goofy pictures and puns they don't really understand. For teens - especially girls - it is so much bigger, and crazier, and filled with expectations that teenaged boys seldom know how to deliver on. I know this year just didn't pan out like LH wanted and I know she is a bit disappointed. The fact is, she has a beautiful gift and card for her beau and I know she REALLY wanted to see him TODAY to give it to him, but she didn't get to and I don't know what to say. I'm pretty sure anything I try to say will come across as cold and heartless because, you know... I'm GROWN-UP and I just don't UNDERSTAND!!! I can only hope for her sake - and the sake of her poor clueless boyfriend - that she mellows out a bit.
Before I wrap this up, I need to mention a wonderful group of people for whom Valentine Day means something a little bit different. Here in Texas, our Governor has declared February 14th Congenital Heart Defect (or CHD) Awareness Day. If I have my facts straight, this was largely spearheaded by a wonderful mother who's son was born with the same defect as my Little Heart - hypo-plastic left heart syndrome (or HLHS.) This "Heart Mom", as I like to call her, won several pageants in the area and used her position to petition for this day and this week to be dedicated to this cause. She has always thought the symbol of the heart that is everywhere right now could be used as an additional reminder of the thousands of babies born each year with a CHD. Some of them live totally normal lives and you would never know their ticker wasn't perfect. Many of them, however, lead a life filled with doctors, medications, surgeries, and the constant reminder that while they often don't look different on the outside, they are very different from their peers. Sadly, far too many of these babies never live to see their first birthday or even leave the hospital. Without a doctor who is trained, alert, and lucky many babies miss being diagnosed with a heart defect before it is too late to treat them. So, just keep LH in mind the next time your kids bring home a Jump Rope for Heart brochure or you have the chance to donate a dollar to the American Heart Association or even your local Children's hospital. Amazing things can happen with enough support and awareness. Also, become an organ donor. The life you save will be someone else's.
One more thing - Happy Birthentines Day to Spike, my awesome littlest sister who is now living out her happily ever after with her darling Walrus and her Baby Bucket to be...
Deb "Humbug" Lollar