I will be honest. I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day in the Hallmark sense of the holiday. It has always been a huge amount of pressure to me. I remember as a child I found this gorgeous box of candy at the grocery store and I kept pointing it out — it was pink — and I wanted that box so badly. I didn’t really care about the candy but the box was gorgeous. The day came and I got a large box of candy but it was red and it wasn’t as pretty and I remember my mother asking me if it was okay. Well, in the first place, I felt like a ridiculously selfish spoiled child wanting something and being disappointed not getting it. I should have been more grateful. What I got was fine — the same brand, the same size — it just wasn’t pink. I was probably about 8. I have learned a lot since then.
Then there was the valentine exchange at school. Back in the day we weren’t required to give valentines to everybody in the class. If you only wanted to give a few you could. We didn’t even have valentine boxes, we decorated brown paper bags and taped them to our desks and everybody would drop their cards in the bags. I wasn’t popular so I lived in fear of having an empty bag. I never was empty but it was a fear — how embarrassing to be the one kid with no cards. Too much pressure.
Then came along the boyfriends. I hated the pressure — do I get them something with no idea that I will get anything. They were boys, they were poor — what in the world do I expect? I expected nothing and that was a good thing in most of the cases. Then there was the boy who stole his mother’s savings stamp books (remember those?) and bought me two enormous stuffed animals — a poodle and an elephant. He gave them to me in a toilet paper case — unwrapped. Didn’t really know what to say about that one. My last boyfriend (now husband) did better but by that time I was done with the whole thing. I remember what pushed me over the heart shaped edge. My cousin’s boyfriend (younger cousin I might add) bought her a little “promise” ring with linked hearts and a tiny diamond chip where they joined — quite common in the 60’s and 70’s — and I told my BF that i would love to have one — he looked at me and straight up said no. I got mad, he didn’t care, and I gave up on Valentine’s Day. I might add that, in his defense, he routinely brought me roses when he would come home from college and just a few months after the promise ring incident I was presented with a custom made 3/4 karat diamond engagement ring. Was I thrilled? Yes. Did I feel guilty about the stink I made about the promise ring? Yes and no — it was childish and silly but I really wanted that ring!
So, now, we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. I buy cards for my grandkids — usually silly cards — not mushy and that is it. I still don’t like the holiday and don’t miss it at all. But kudos for those who love it — and a lot of people do — I wouldn’t begrudge them of the joy it brings but just not my thing.