on valentine’s day

What does Valentine’s Day mean?  I think each one of us likely has a different take on this day.  Some will view it as a romantic holiday, others will see it as a day of heartache.  Others still will claim it to be a manufactured holiday created by florists and chocolatiers.  Some are in love with the idea of being in love on Valentine’s Day and others will be indifferent.  Those who are single may feel isolated or even bitter on the day that romanticizes love and relationships. They may feel that they are outcasts in a world full of lovers.  Others may see Valentine’s Day as a holiday for children, with memories of cutting out red and pink heart shaped Valentine’s for classmates and friends to share at the school Valentine’s party.  Some will be in relationships and feel isolated on the inside because their mate does not accept or participate in Valentine’s Day rituals, and may pretend that it doesn’t matter to them while on the inside they are hurting because they feel undervalued on this day made for lovers.

I’ve had a wide variety of emotions about Valentine’s Day.  My exhusband never once in our 23 years together had the consideration to give me a Valentine’s Day worthy of lovers.  I was never once given a gift or taken out for dinner, had a romantic surprise waiting for me at home or a candlelight romantic evening despite my obvious hints and even my gifts to him.  I put up that shield and pretended that Valentine’s Day only mattered to the superficial, but in reality, that wasn’t how I felt at all.

The first man I dated after splitting up with my exhusband apparently was much the same way.  Valentine’s Day wasn’t even on his radar.  Having still been a new relationship, it was disheartening to me to think that perhaps there were no men in my world who cared about this particular day.  For years I put my effort into the children for Valentine’s Day.  I would make sure I had valentine cards and gifts for them, give them the gift of my time and help them make their Valentine’s for their friends and classmates.  I would make sure that their snack contributions for the parties were heartfelt displays of their mother’s love and affection for them and went into great detail to create heart shaped platters of fruit and dip or other equally or more creative food dishes.  I still make sure they have help with their valentines, and I still have a small gift for them to show them they are loved and that this day means something to me, and that they mean something to me.

It wasn’t until last year that I was given a Valentine’s Day gift.  The man I was dating at the the time was strong and handsome, sexy and loving, and he showered me with gifts.  For the first time in my adult life I felt truly important to a man on Valentine’s Day.  Now, I say in my adult life because I do recall one Valentine’s Day when I was a child that my father surprised not just my mother, but also my sister and me with flowers and each one of us with a heart shaped box of chocolates.  This was one of my fondest memories from my childhood.  I was probably around fourteen that year.  I remembered being hopeful that this was what I would have to look forward to when I was old enough to be married.  So I suppose that was just the set up that made me so disappointed in that man that I was married to that didn’t consider my feelings towards Valentine’s Day, and it set me up to feel unimportant and undervalued as a wife and companion.

So, with last year being my best Valentine’s Day, I suppose there isn’t anything to look forward to this year particularly considering my single status once again.  I still have gifts for my littles, and we will enjoy our day together.  I will make sure they know they are valued and very much loved on this particular day not just this year, but in every coming year ahead.  Because even if some think this day is just made up for merchant benefit, or if it’s thought that we should treat every day as Valentine’s Day, it still comes just once a year, and just like birthdays, it’s nice to feel extra special sometimes.  In that, I don’t see any harm.  I still remain hopeful that perhaps one day a man will walk into my life and make me feel extra special for that one day a year simply because he can.

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