Remember the Valentine cards we passed to all our classmates in grade school? I was always very careful of two things–make sure I had one for everyone in my class, including the teacher–and be certain to send the mushy cards to the correct people. I didn’t want any trouble.
I had my first “Valentine” in second grade. His name was Brent and he had such a crush on me! He sent me notes throughout the day, which got me into trouble because–embarrassed by his apparent adoration–I stuffed them in my desk. The teacher found the crumpled notes and asked my mother to come in for a conference. She expressed concern that I was far too young for such an amorous conversation with a boy. As I sat there, my discomfort quickly escalated to mortification. I hadn’t actually carried on a conversation, it was mostly Brent, but I suppose I was guilty by association. Or something like that.
As I remember, he was planning something special for Valentine’s Day. But…we moved to a new school district before that happened. I don’t remember even saying goodbye.
I was a new face in the classroom many, many times over the next few years, so I don’t really remember any other outstanding Valentine’s Days from my childhood. What about you? Do you have poignant or happy memories of a particular Valentine or Valentine’s Day? I’d love to hear about it!
Back to me–fast forward to the day when I met the love of my life. My forever Valentine. The scene changes drastically after marriage, doesn’t it? The Valentine cards are more intimate and usually more expensive. Men sometimes chafe at the holiday, blaming the card, chocolate, and floral industries. And perhaps it is an overblown holiday, but many of the feminine gender have known the discomfort of sitting behind an empty desk while the other women’s work areas are festooned with lovely gifts and displays of affection.
Even if our handsome Valentine has planned a wonderful evening, we still stifle feelings of envy over said display. This puts unfair pressure on our significant others. No wonder they generally dislike the holiday. It’s an expensive struggle, to find the perfect gift, or plan the memorable evening. I remember many times when my husband did a stellar job of planning and carrying out the perfect getaway. But honestly, I can’t recall whether it was Valentine’s Day, anniversary, birthday?? I’m not sure it even matters.
If as a couple, you’ve talked about it, and come to an agreement ahead of time, there’s no reason why you even have to celebrate that day. Just so you don’t overlook the important events of your life. I remember one Valentine’s Day early in our marriage, when money was tight and going out alone together was rare. We stopped by our local Target and looked at the Valentine cards. We each chose one we really liked. Then we exchanged them, read them, and returned them to the rack. The sentiments we found written in the cards passed between us and it was free. We still laugh at that memory. Most likely, if we’d paid the price for those cards and brought them home, they’d have ended up in the trash. I would not have remembered them half as well as the memory of that night.
If you’re struggling with a plan for Valentine’s Day, don’t forget that the small things count. Can’t afford a big night out? Find something else that means a lot to your love. Go for a long stroll (weather permitting), window shop, or stop in at your favorite coffeehouse for a treat. Make your own card, or better yet, write a letter (or a note), and let your beloved know you care. Show your Valentine that though your budget may be tight, your heart is not.
Love is the key that unlocks the heart.