It’s getting to be that time of year again — red hearts, boxes of chocolates, giant stuffed animals, dozens and dozens of roses, jewelry, candlelit dinners.
The ultimate holiday for every happy couple to proclaim their love for one another. For me it’s just another day. I say “pass.” Not really my thing. Before you chalk it up to a bitter woman in a loveless marriage, hear me out. I just don’t really care for Valentine’s Day.
I don’t think I ever liked it.
My earliest memory of Valentine’s Day is from the fifth grade. I was on the phone with my best friend, filling out Looney Tunes cards for our class’s Valentine’s Day card swap. “What card are you giving *insert boy’s name here*?” she asked. “Oh, I don’t know,” I responded. Wait. I actually had to put some thought into each person’s card? I found myself spending way too much time over-analyzing Valentine messages from Bugs Bunny and ended up feeling more anxious than I should over cards that were probably forgotten about later that day.
In high school, while many girls carried giant teddy bears and bouquets of flowers, I threw an annual “Anti-Valentine’s Day” celebration at my house because “boys? who needs them!” My girlfriends and I bought each other chocolates and crowded on the sofa watching not-too-scary movies. It was perfect.
But couples celebrate Valentine’s Day, right?
Moving onward to when my husband and I were dating. He was stationed in Arizona; I went to college in Louisiana. Valentine’s Day was a day we mailed each other gifts but never got to see each other. No romantic first Valentine’s Date — just cards in the mail and long-distance phone calls. Actually, our first Valentine’s Day spent together wasn’t until after we were married.
Valentine’s Day, spent together, in person, as a married couple, seemed like a pretty big deal. Since we couldn’t afford to go out to a big fancy dinner, I cooked a romantic meal and covered our apartment walls with homemade decorations. It was a lovely evening, but it took a LOT of effort. Year after year, making our Valentine’s Day together perfect just took too much energy. Trying to do things for Valentine’s Day seemed forced and too mechanical … neither one of us really cared that much.
Then we had a baby…
Valentine’s Day came almost three weeks after our son was born. In case you’ve forgotten what it’s like to have a three-week-old, let me remind you. The days blur together, and you pick a random time in the middle of the night to decide when one day’s feeding cycle ended and the next day’s began. If you had a C-section, like me, you likely still can’t drive. Simple tasks like showering and eating feel like milestones.
For our first V-Day as parents, I was home on maternity leave, and my husband came home from work with a large coffee. Later that evening, we took a trip to Target so I could enjoy simply being out of the house. It wasn’t grand or fabulous or sparkly in the form of jewelry, but it was exactly what I needed.
To me, the once-a-year grand gesture seems easy.
Buying flowers, a fancy dinner, jewelry, and proclaiming your love for each other in one picture-perfect evening — that’s easy. Want to know what’s hard? Showing your significant other you care on a regular basis. When you’ve had a long day at work, but you still keep your wife company during the middle of the night feedings. When you make sure the coffee pot is heated up, ready to go first thing in the morning. Filling the gas tank because you noticed it was running low when you drove their car. Random “how’s your day going” text messages.
To the ladies who want the grand gestures, I say, “good for you, but not for me.”