I’m not quite sure why I’m anti-Valentine’s Day. I’ve never had a boyfriend dump me on Valentine’s Day. I’ve never had an embarrassing lingerie incident. I harbor no irrational aversions to pink or red hearts. I just don’t like Valentine’s Day. I admit it, I’m a Valentine Scrooge.
The last time I remember getting excited about Valentine’s Day was in Mrs. Barshatky’s second grade class. I watched all the boys I had crushes on stuff little cards into my homemade mailbox, and I rushed home from school to read them all, tossing aside those from the girls and drooling over those from Todd and Doug and Kevin and Rory. Life is simple when you’re a kid. Romance comes in the form of a heart-shaped candy that says “Be Mine” and a card the size of a Post-It note. And if a gal is really lucky, her name is even written on the card by the suitor himself and not his mother.
But the farther away I got from second grade, the more unimpressed I was by V-day. By the time I hit my mid-20’s, I was completely disillusioned and saw Valentine’s Day as an overblown Hallmark holiday that makes couples feel like they have to live up to some strict set of über romantic expectations and makes single people lament their relationship status.
My husband and I usually treat Valentine’s Day like any other day on the calendar. To his credit though, he used to make attempts to woo me every February 14, probably because he thought that’s what he was supposed to do. But after 12 years of failing to turn me into a romantic, he has given up and crossed over to the dark side. I think he’s more of a Valentine Scrooge than I am now.
I have to admit that my Valentine Scrooge tendencies are gradually fading thanks to my children. Just as I’m able to live vicariously through their excitement over Santa and the Easter bunny, I’m reliving my second grade Valentine’s memories through them. The other day, as I helped my 3-year-old daughter choose the prettiest girly cards and my 7-year-old son the most manly cards, I remembered how special that exchange of cheap Valentines in decorated paper bags was to me at their age. I couldn’t help but smile and wish I could switch places with them for the day.
Yes, life is simple when you’re a kid. When I asked my son what Valentine’s Day means to him, he said, “We get cards and people like each other.” How profoundly simple: the day is about people liking each other. Of course! And as I momentarily looked at the holiday through the eyes of a child, I realized I might actually enjoy Valentine’s Day again if I could overlook all the commercialism and think of it as a celebration of love.
After that aha moment, I wondered if maybe this year I would be visited by 3 Cupids in my sleep who would change my Valentine Scrooge-like ways. I wondered if I would wake up this Valentine’s morning overcome with a renewed sense of romanticism and a newfound appreciation for flowers and candy. And as I opened my eyes this morning, I thought…
Um, nope. Still a Valentine Scrooge. Bah humbug.