Happy February 15th, everyone! How did you ladies do yesterday? Candlelit dinners in fancy restaurants? Massages at the spa? Diamond bracelets? My sweetheart has never had the income to pull off a big Valentine’s Day treat for me, but that’s OK. My expectations for this rather silly holiday are pretty low.
When I was little, my mom always forgot to buy us those Valentines that came 30 to a box with Daffy Duck and hearts on them. But that was OK, because giving them out in class was hit-or-miss. Sister Vincent couldn’t have cared less about our tender feelings when some of us only got a few and others a brimming book bag full. I used to wish Joseph Grazie (the cute Italian kid who always gave off a faint, exotic whiff of garlic) would give me a Valentine. But no, I only got them from boys like John Albert, who tried to impress me by eating an entire box of Crayolas (he promptly threw up in 8 brilliant colors).
By the time my kids came along, child psychology had been invented. Everybody had to get Valentines from everybody, or no one would get Valentines from anybody. This fair-handed approach to romance was a bonanza for Hallmark, but a pain for parents. Every year I bumped into other moms in the store on February 13th, frantically scooping up 30 to a box cards (still, amazingly, with Daffy Duck and hearts on them) and rushing home to “help” our first graders write out their classmates’ names (a painful procedure indeed). Some overachieving parents upped the ante by attaching lollipops or little bags of M&Ms to THEIR Valentines, while the rest of us just sent in smudged and crossed out wishes for the whole class.
As I was married so young, I got to skip the “dateless on Valentine’s” ordeal, but I know plenty of people, male and female, who suffered through years of this nonsense. One friend, I swear, had a string of beaux who all conveniently (for them) broke up with her in late January. Isn’t life tough enough without having other people’s joy thrown into your face for an entire 24 hour period of time every year?
I have to say my children’s cards to me were pretty cute. One of my favorites was signed, “Love, PJ Seyfried” just in case I was wondering who “PJ” was. And Steve has (almost) always written really sweet notes, often accompanied by flowers. No card for me this year, though, and the only flowers on the table are a dozen red roses that Julie received from her thoughtful boyfriend. But I truly don’t care if the loving gestures happen on a precise schedule (Steve is actually cooking me dinner tonight instead), and I wish the world wouldn’t either.
So Happy Day After a Holiday Named for a 3rd Century Christian Martyr! I only ask that you lucky recipients keep your diamond bracelets to yourselves. The rest of us don’t want to know.