As I think back over the Valentines Days of years gone by, here's some of what sticks out:
When I was little, my mom (and my dad by association) used to give us cool Valentine treats. We usually got either a fancy hand-made card with doilies and everything, or one of the big cards that you can buy, (the ones that you buy in the card isle, individually, not the kind that come in a box with 24 others). Inside they would have a really nice note, saying how much we were loved, and how proud mom and dad were of us. And of course, we always got some cool candy in the mix. Not just the lame conversation hearts. No, there was chocolate involved. Sometimes even in a heart-shaped box.
One year when I was going to college at SUU, February 14 came and I was secretly bummed out because as usual, I didn't have a man in my life, and so I wasn't expecting any little nice surprises to come my way. The night before the big day, some of my friends (girls) called me on the phone, and spent about 15 minutes reciting cheesy limericks that cracked me up. Now, 20+ years later, I can still hear Janet's voice saying something about San Juan. (Random!)
Six or so years ago, I did have a man in my life (it wasn't Eric), and the holiday fell on a Saturday that year. We had planned to take a little day trip to celebrate together, and as I was having a particularly difficult winter, I found myself looking forward to that trip the way a marathon-runner looks forward to the aid station at the top of the hill at mile 17 (not that I'd know). And then, I woke up on February 14 to an all-day snowstorm, and weather advisories that pretty much determined that we wouldn't be going anywhere outside of our little community for several days. A crushing disappointment that I (obviously) eventually got over.
And then of course, there's always the burning-the-breadsticks Valentines Dinner.
Now my Valentines Celebrations are low-key, both in expectation and activity. I imagine as Heather gets older, they will involve more tape and construction paper, and probably heartfelt notes to her about how much we love her and how proud we are of the girl that she is. For now though, Heather is oblivious, and Eric and I exchange small gifts (He got me a big book of randomness, and (at his request) I'm giving him $20 to put toward some new robot coming out later on this year), and have our annual meal of take-out food with sparkling grape or apple juice in the goblets that Claudine Spevak gave us for our wedding. I'm going to make up some chocolate-dipped strawberries for the festivities as well, and we'll top it off with the sugar cookies that Donna pressed into our hands as we were leaving her home last night.
It feels right to me. Nothing all that fancy, nothing that makes my heart go pitter-patter (any more than any other day anyway), nothing to write about, really. But in all those nothings, there's definitely a whole lot of something.
image courtesy of erin m