I can't stand Valentine's Day. There's some sort of perverse irony there, the fact that I H-A-T-E a day that is supposed to be all about romance and passion and L-O-V-E.
It's not the sentiment. I appreciate the idea of taking time out to give someone a hug or kiss or gift or chunk o' choco. But I don't like being forced into it by candy and floral and greeting card companies that all are trying desperately to make up for the lull created by penny-pinching post-Christmas consumers.
For years, I hated VD (which is my twisted way of referring to the communicable day that catches like a bad case of warts and itches worse). Why did I hate it? Because nothing sucks more than watching every woman around you get massive bouquets of Telefreakingflora. All. Day. Long. When you aren't dating anyone. When you aren't even pretending to date anyone. The only event I might have hated more back then was New Year's Eve, standing around at a party watching everyone else kissing at midnight and trying not to cry.
More years than I'd care to mention, I treated myself to Valentine's candy. You know, the big red, cellophane-wrapped heart from Russell Stover's. Yep, me and Russ, we go way back. Of course, I usually bought the candy the day AFTER Valentine's when it was half price, piled pathetically in an errant shopping cart along with boxes of discontinued panty hose and expired bottles of Milk of Magnesia.
When I met my now-husband a dozen or so years ago, I thought, "Woohoo! Someone to trade Valentines with! Someone to kiss on all the major holidays!" And I do love him more than just about anything on this planet and beyond. But now I'm just irritated that we're guilted into buying crap to prove we love each other. Because it's the 14th day of the second month of the year. Because someone says so.
Now that we have a kid in preschool, we're also suckered into celebrating this candy-coated occasion with the 25 other kids in his class. Which means we have to buy cards and coach Henry into writing his name a couple dozen times. By the end of the evening, we're all muttering snarky epithets to Hallmark and Hershey's and Cupid. And by tomorrow, we parents will be muttering far worse things when the teachers send our kids home for the weekend, all jacked up on sugar and other not-so-complex carbs.
I love my honey. I love my kiddo. I love my extended family and my dog and my friends. And I hope that throughout the days, throughout the months, throughout the years, I show them how I feel, in grand gestures and small tokens.
I say that and, yet, I caved. I have gifts for the two beloveds who share my house. I'll bestow them on Saturday. And I'll probably pass by the lobby of my office tomorrow, subtly searching for the delivery guy and wondering if those long-stemmed beauties bear my name.
And I'll be secretly just the tiniest bit melancholy when they don't.