Monday, February 14, 2011

Reflections on Valentine's Day

I've always loved Valentine's Day, despite the fact that I've never had anyone with which to share it. Yes, it's true: although I've had dates a-plenty and even a boyfriend to speak of from time to time, I've never been with anyone on Valentine's Day. But I shun the complaints that it is merely a commercial holiday invented by Hallmark blah blah blah... the commercialization of St. Valentine's life is no different from the treatment of Jesus' birth and death at Christmas and Easter, and many other similar holidays that boast themed chocolates and tokens of affection to bestow upon loved ones. Valentine's Day receives a bad reputation simply because people like to feel sorry for themselves and being lonely on February 14 provides adequate means to do so, wallowing in one's own self-misery.

I like Valentine's Day because, yes, we should ensure those near and dear to us know they are loved every single day, but sometimes that becomes eclipsed by other aspects of life, such as work, family, personal crises, etc. Valentine's Day reminds us why we have committed our lives to someone, if we have thus chosen to renounce all others and spend our lives with another human. And despite my lack of Valentine dates, I think this is important. Christians do not say, "Why celebrate Christmas? Shouldn't we love Christ and honor and remember his birth every day?" And if you have made the decision to be a follow of Christ, I assume you should. People do not say, "Why celebrate Mother's Day? Shouldn't we love our mother and honor and remember her every day?" And if you have a wonderful mother then yes, I assume you should. That does not mean those holidays should go ignored. The celebrations make people feel good and, dammit, they're fun.

Fun. I LOVED Valentine's Day parties in elementary school, getting my creativity on by crafting those little valentine mailboxes from paper, paste and heart-shaped stickers (and, one year that I was feeling especially crafty, a cardboard detergent box). I chose the valentines I would send my class from a catalog, my mom ordered them for me weeks in advance, and when they arrived I could hardly wait to select the perfect valentine to go to each classmate and inscribe them all with personal messages. Valentine's Day parties were the best in school and I always went home feeling appreciated (and full of red velvet cupcakes). Even in fifth grade when I sent my crush a Bananas in Pajamas valentine on which I had scrawled "I love you" and his to me said, "You are a cute and funny girl" I was elated. Did it matter that he did not love me? No! He thought I was a cute and funny girl! (And I AM! I am damn cute and funny to boot)!

In seventh grade, however, I dumped my boyfriend of three days on Valentine's Day. I knew it was wrong of me, but the "relationship" just didn't feel right and I thought it would be unfair to string him along any longer. I think he took it pretty well, considering he gave the teddy bear he had bought me to my friend Kristin and asked her out instead. They remained together for a number of years.

This Valentine's Day is the first one in which I'm a little disappointed to be spending it alone. For though I am dating someone, we decided not to make plans for tonight due to various conflicts. So, though no bouquet of flowers or candlelit dinner is in my future for this evening, I plan to take Ben & Jerry on a hot date to the movies, and they are better dates than most.

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