I remember when I was a child I used to love making Valentines cards for friends and loved ones and it was an even bigger thrill when I was taken to my local variety store and I was allowed to pick out a package of Valentine’s cards that I could write my personal messages on and give them to my school mates. These cards were packaged in sheets and there was an assortment to choose from with their various pictures and sayings. All of which had the traditional ‘To’ and ‘From’ pre-printed on the backs, leaving only the dotted lines to fill in who I chose to give them to.
I eagerly looked forward to carefully tearing them out of the pages along the perforated dots. I’d pile them in categories of who I was going to give them to in class – boys – girls – teachers. Then I’d happily begin writing the names of who each one was for. I never put ‘love’, always from.
As children, I don’t know if we see the real significance of Valentine’s Day, for me it was the fun of the arts and crafts of the holiday and the giving and receiving. But I also remember that if I had received fewer than I had given that it had somehow made me sad.
As I got older, the significance of the day sometimes made me sad. When I was single or newly broken up in a relationship, Valentine’s Day seemed to make those times more pronounced. A day which emphasized that I was alone. As I got older I began to realize the huge commercialization of this day. Yes, it was still lovely to give and receive cards but the over-hyped media of this day had begun to make some people feel like they were less worthy if they didn’t have a partner. I know that when I was a younger girl and dreamed of great romance, that I was caught up in the lust of desiring the romance that was supposed to be a part of the great day. Wasn’t every girl supposed to feel extra special and be wined and dined on this one day of love?
When I got married my husband always bought me a beautiful card and a present and flowers and took us out for dinner. After a few years had passed we noticed that we had to begin reserving a table well in advance, the price for dinner near doubled on that day and the food was never as good as it usually was. This became mostly due to busy kitchens, double seatings booked for dinners and many times the regular menus we initially chose the restaurants for, were altered into select menus giving us three or four choices only for that evening.
After a few years we decided that we would no longer go out on that night and do Valentine’s on the following Saturday night. Through the ensuing years, the presents diminished and as I had received so much throughout the year, I no longer felt that we had to spend money on something I didn’t need. I began my own routine of cooking a special dinner and a having a glass of wine with the meal, which we only normally indulge in when we have company.
I still get flowers and we never stopped exchanging cards. No matter how the times change it is never out-dated to give a few lovely words to your significant other or anyone else you may want to remind how special they are.
Wishing you all a lovely Valentine’s Day.
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