Valentine’s Day is for suckers. I’m convinced that this holiday was invented to boost the economy (at least in certain markets). The candy and chocolate people got together with the card makers and lingerie tycoons to conspire against men everywhere. Lest I forget about the floral importers, they’ve had a hand in this too. Everyone has worked so hard since New Years to lose those holiday love handles and then the person who wants to see you naked is handing you a box of chocolate. Sabotage! Seven dollars for a hallmark card with sentimental phraseology that your loved one deems has summed it up and therefore needs only a John Hancock, it never strikes me as romantic. And giving your lady lingerie is basically like buying yourself a present. If I was the Grinch at Christmas, well on Valentine’s Day, consider me that vision of a fat, ugly Cupid baby with a five o’clock shadow, a beer and a cigarette.
I paint a bitter and grim picture, but I’m not thrilled with a holiday that has the potential to make people feel sad if they don’t have a special someone at the moment. I remember crushing on people way back in the day and feeling so let down that the feelings weren’t reciprocated on this holiday. Anxiously awaiting Valentine’s Day, I’d wonder if I’d be surprised with a candy gram in class or a rose from a secret admirer on my locker. Few are as lucky as I am to have found their true love in high school. I don’t want my girls to feel the disappointment of unrequited love. It stings in general, but on February 14th, it burns.
Although I’m obviously disenchanted with this cold day, I look back with a smile as I recall the last 14 Valentine’s I’ve had with my husband. I don’t think he truly buys into the hype either, but he never disappointed me. Our first Valentine’s Day he showed up at my parents house dressed in his finest khakis and button down shirt wielding roses and chocolates. Then he took me in his parents’ fancy car to a romantic restaurant (Paul Newman was at the adjacent table). Subsequent years we laughed at all of the restaurants he took me to. He would painstakingly research the trendy and hip valentines offerings, wining and dining me at these romantic venues. We undoubtedly ordered the wrong thing every time and left laughing at how bad the meal was, but we always had fun. This year, I was adamant that we not play into the consumerism. After all, romance shouldn’t happen one day a year.
Last week, my husband had a meeting in the city where I went to college. I haven’t been back in years and I have been whining about my cravings for my favorite meal there. It’s my favorite meal anywhere. My five dollar bean and rice quesadilla!!!! He only had four hours in the city and the little burrito joint is nowhere near where he was. I kept telling him he would need to find another place to sleep if he came home without my quesadilla. His three hour ride home was chock full of texts; he told me it wasn’t possible, I told him I changed the locks, ya know, the usual. I didn’t think he pulled it off but when he walked in the door while I was bathing our girls and held up a plastic bag with a huge smile on his face, my jaw dropped. After I inhaled half of a quesadilla standing in our bathroom, I gave him a huge hug and told him that was the best valentines surprise ever. He was officially off the hook this year and as far as I’m concerned, every year.
I don’t need a romantic gesture on Valentine’s Day because he shows me love everyday. When he gets up with the girls on weekends and lets me sleep. When he makes pancakes with them and changes their diapers before work in the morning. When he wakes up with them in be middle of the night. When he comes home early on nights when I’m ready to totally lose it. When he goes downstairs in the wee hours because I “heard something”. When he makes me laugh and never have to cry. When he works his ass off so the girls and I can be together all day. When he supports us through life’s ups and downs, both big and small. He’s the best Valentine on this day and all days. (PS. I didn’t buy you a card today, babe, but I could print this out and sign it. Love you, me).

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