I was in a store last week and ran into a friend who was buying Valentine’s Day presents for her kids. Really? Don’t get me wrong. I totally spoiled my kids (and still spoil the kid at home), but not in the name of a non-holiday. I have the same reaction to my anniversary, my birthday, St Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, the Superbowl, and Halloween. I think I may just feel that these “holidays” have spiraled out of control with bigger and bigger expectations each year. Oh, we give each other presents on birthdays, but if we can’t do it on the day itself, that’s no big deal. And for our anniversary this year we decided to get a bed (not the mattress; we have one of those; I mean a piece of furniture that holds the mattress; I’ve never had one), but we still haven’t bought it. The last anniversary we decided to get a bed (clearly not a new idea), we spent two days shopping, and then decided it would be more fun to take the family to Hawaii instead.
It could be that I’ve trained myself not to expect anything. After all, I married a man who can’t understand the appeal of buying metal with rocks in it that has no express purpose (jewelry, for you non-engineering types). In the dark ages before the Internet really existed, he gave me a modem for a present. I had no idea what it was. Turns out, he was right about its importance.
Now there’s nothing wrong with celebrating family, milestones, events, etc., but to me celebrations mean more when they are not prescribed by the day. When I’ve had a bad day and my husband bring home a bunch of flowers just because, that’s romantic. When he calls up and offers to pick up dinner, that’s romantic. When I ask for help and he drops everything to do what I’ve requested, that’s romantic. When he takes the dogs to the dog park because the last time I went some idiot hit my dog and yelled at me because she’s high energy, vocal (she barks when she’s exuberant—you should see her talking to me while I’m in the kitchen), big, but so sweet and has never hurt anyone or any dog, that’s romantic. When he got down on the floor and played with our children when they were little, and even now takes our developmentally delayed daughter to basketball games and takes the time to play video games with her, that’s romantic. And when we still plan our future and what we want to do together despite having been married for 27 years, that’s romantic. And when we laugh together, and discuss politics together, and watch movies together, that’s romantic.
So go ahead and celebrate Valentine’s Day. There’s nothing wrong with it. I’ll do nothing special today except what we do every day. And I will love every minute of it, even the bad ones.
But I still expect special treatment on Mother’s Day. Oh, yeah. Nobody gets out of that one.
P.S. I have a giveaway running here until Feb 19. See the following blog entry.
Books I’m reading now
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness