Valentine’s Day is Sunday.
In elementary school, I loved the holiday – from making the boxes for classmates to deliver valentines to filling out cards to hand out. My first grade teacher took pictures of all her students holding a giant red heart to create valentines to send home, and more than 20 years later, my parents scanned the photo and used it in a valentine card they gave me.
In the sixth grade, instead of getting a list of classmates’ names to help make sure you made a valentine for everyone (because the elementary school rule was give a card to everyone, or give out none), I had to wing it. I handed out valentines and to my horror, learned I had forgotten a girl in the other homeroom. She and I have reconnected now on Facebook, and I will not name her. I hope she has forgotten the unintended slight. I still feel bad about it.
In the seventh grade, a student group had a Valentine’s Day-related fundraiser. You could send messages to those you liked. The group came around handing out the messages. I did not get one and was devastated. My best friend made me a valentine out of ruled school paper. I still treasure it.
My cynicism about Valentine’s Day began around that time, and grew over the years. I longed for a crush to reach out to me on the holiday.
Instead, my valentines came from friends or family. My parents gave me Valentine’s Day gifts: usually a card, flowers, candy or jewelry. Today I am wearing a pair of heart-shaped gold earrings they gave me while in high school.
My Valentine’s Day grudge continued through college and adulthood, although I tamped it down while helping my son prepare his holiday treats for school. I began celebrating QuirkyAlone Day instead.
And now, in my 40s, I’m over it.
I choose to celebrate love in all its forms. I no longer get bent out of shape longing for romantic love for Valentine’s Day. I celebrate my love for my son, my family and my friends. I handed out valentines to co-workers – including cards leftover from handing out valentines in elementary school that I squirreled away in my stash of stationery.
I’m outing myself as a romantic after years of hiding it behind a very cynical shell.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Will you be my valentine?