I didn't grow up really hating or loving Valentine's Day.
In elementary school there wasn't much NOT to like about getting a valentine from everyone in your class, each one usually accompanied by a piece of something delectably sugar-rush infested. Of course, you did have to be careful about what message you gave to each kid in class. You wouldn't want the boy who picked his nose and saved the boogers for later to get the wrong impression by giving him a message that said, "You're cute, Valentine!" Maybe it was the English teacher developing within me way back then, but I was always very attentive to the semantics behind every valentine in the cardboard box that my mom and I would pick out together.
The most memorable valentine of my elementary school years came in sixth grade when Brandon Earl, whose bowl cut I happened to be madly in love with, gave me a valentine that professed he wanted to be my first date when I turned 16. (I had recently returned a necklace he gave me and told him I couldn't date until then. Had Elliott Goodrich not blabbed about the necklace to my parents, I probably would have kept it, but alas, it wasn't in the cards for Brandon and me.) His promise was never kept. Sadly, by the time Brandon and I reached dating age, he no longer had a bowl cut, and friendship had replaced our previous feelings of romance.
If I ever remotely detested Valentine's Day, it was probably in junior high. By the time 7th and 8th grade rolled around, we no longer got to have the classroom bashes filled with conversation hearts. Instead, those of us who didn't get anything for Valentine's Day got to listen to the names of everyone who DID get called to the office to pick up their bouquets of flowers, giant teddy bears, and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. At the time, watching popular girls try to find an empty spot on their desk amidst all of the red and pink paraphernalia, so they could complete our Earth Science assignment, wasn't the most thrilling. I had an empty desk, a terrible haircut, and braces. It wasn't too hard to find a spot on my desk for a worksheet on plate tectonics. Even then I didn't HATE Valentine's Day, though. Plus, by the time we would graduate from high school, most of the popular girls from junior high were pregnant, druggies, or just a bit washed up. (That doesn't sound cold and unfeeling at all, does it?)
In high school I only had a boyfriend for one Valentine's Day. My junior year, though, my friend Lena Campbell and I decided we were sick of hearing every one's names called on Valentine's Day and never getting our fair share of the goods. We went to Wal-Mart together and picked out gifts for each other, then delivered them to the front office the morning of February 14th.
Even now that I'm married, we don't really make a huge deal about Valentine's Day. As long as Chad gets me a bouquet of flowers, or a card, or makes me a stellar dinner, or does something to remind me he knows it's the day of love--I'm good. (If he doesn't do ANYTHING, then we will have a problem.) We don't usually go out to eat on Valentine's Day, because restaurants are packed, service is terrible, and it's just an unpleasant waste of an evening.
Yesterday Chad brought me flowers in the morning. Last night we dropped Kaden off at my mother-in-law's house and drove to Moss Hill Elementary to take pictures of a 6, 7, and 8 year old basketball team. And, being the domestic diva that I am, I ironed my husband's shirts for his Valentine's Day gift. And I know that some of you are thinking I should do that all of the time, but sadly, my husband married me, and it's in the contract that I don't have to do that chore. I'm not a huge country western fan, but I'm pretty sure that some country singer sometime sang a song that says something like, "I don't do windows." If I was a country singer, my song would say, "I don't iron." Judge me if you must. I love an ironed shirt as well as the next lady, but when my husband looks freshly pressed 9 out of 10 times he's ironed his shirt himself. That is why my Valentine's gift was straight from the heart.
I think if we were amazingly wealthy, I would hire a maid, but all I would ask her to do is iron. And maybe clean the bathrooms. And do a dish . . . or two . . . merely occasionally, of course. And put the clothes away after I've washed them. But, really, she might as well wash them if she's going to put them away anyway, right? Oh, to dream.
Anyway, I hope I haven't de-romaticized Valentine's Day for anyone. I'm sure we now seem like a very unromantic couple. But here's the thing: shouldn't romance happen spontaneously, and not just one day of the year? To me, Valentine's Day is just a day to remind us how much we love that special someone, and to maybe make us think about how we should show that person how much they mean to us a little bit better every day of the year.
I hope your Valentine's Day was nice, and that you felt loved, because to me, that's all the day is really about.