Monday, February 14, 2011

My Thoughts on this Valentine's Day

Reader beware: if you are one of those super sentimental romantic types, you may not like what I have to say.

The truth is, I have mixed emotions about Valentine's Day.  I don't really have it all figured out in my head, which is why I'm writing about it.  I write because it helps me make sense of my thoughts.  So if this post seems jumbled and if I change my mind by the end, it's just because my mind isn't really made up.  But these are my thoughts.

The truth is, I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day in the way that it currently exists.  I don't so much care about the gifting and commercialism (though this is something I dislike about Christmas), but it's more the exclusivity Valentine's Day represents.   Lest any of you think my reasons are because I've been disappointed in this day by anyone, rest assured that Sam is an amazing Valentine.  I've actually been this way for quite awhile.

Back in high school, I was a proud founding member of the aforementioned NBTC, that is, the Non-Boyfriend Table Club.  This group was formed when four friends and I decided we didn't like being ostracized simply because we didn't have boyfriends.  (We also thought boys were quite a waste of time in high school, and, I would argue, had all the more fun because we avoided such relationships.  Disclaimer: if you were in a relationship in high school and had a great experience, that's great for you.  I'm merely speaking of my own personal preferences.)  Beth, Bree, Marci, Amy and I all agreed that it was okay to have a boyfriend, so long as you didn't exclude others who didn't have boyfriends.  We figured that when we were older we would be married, and then we would be right to put a man before our friends.  But high school was not the time for that.

But I digress.  Back to Valentine's Day.  The truth is, I remember all too well those past February 14ths when I had no Valentine.  To hear about all these people getting flowers or chocolates (yuck, chocolate) or stuffed animals just reminded me that I didn't have a special someone.  And did I need that reminder?  No.  I was reminded of that nearly every day, so why set aside a particular day to remind all those singles that hey, this year you're still single.

I don't think we should eliminate Valentine's Day.  But what is the need for it?  Am I grateful when Sam takes me out to a nice dinner on Valentine's Day?  Yes.  Would I be far more impressed if he did it on some other random Monday night for no reason at all (which he does)?  Indeed.  I guess I just feel that it is somewhat unnecessary.  He and I are in a relationship every day of the year, and every day we should be making each other feel special and loved.  I understand that for people who have busier lives (or especially kids!) it's hard to make that time as often, so to have a day set aside for that is a good reminder to put in the effort.  So in that respect, Valentine's Day is a good thing.

But similarly...how goes Mother's Day for the teenager whose mother has just died, or for the woman who has tried for so many years without success to become pregnant and become a mother herself?  Isn't Mother's Day a painful reminder of what is missing?  In the same way I don't believe we should do away with Mother's Day.  But I guess I am just sad for those who dread these days because of the pain they represent.

Like I said, I don't know.  I don't have it figured out.  Do we need to be so public about it?  I do understand the desire to "brag" about one's relationship, to tell the world that he got you flowers, or she surprised you with breakfast in bed.  It is nice to validate your significant other in that way.  I love telling others when Sam does something sweet for me because I know it is fulfilling to him to hear me praise him publicly.  But I'm also ashamed to admit that sometimes my motives aren't so pure.  I am certainly guilty of doing it to brag about what I have, even to make others jealous of the position I'm in.  Wretched!  Why rub it in someone's face who is possibly already feeling lonely?  Hopefully none of you are as horrid as I am.

I do think it's wonderful to set aside a day to celebrate love!  Love is a many splendid thing, love lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love!  (Thank you Moulin Rouge.)  But I'd love the focus to be on all different forms of love.  Romantic love, yes, but also the love between friends, parents and their children, siblings, and the like.  Include everyone in on the celebration, equally.

Like I said, I haven't figured it all out in my mind, and I'm not really sure what position I take on this day.  My dear patient husband is really a trooper for putting up with me and my ridiculousness. :) Anyway, here are some pictures from our fun hearts day.

where I found the boys when I got home from work - video games!


love bug!

that's right...this would be how I'd want to spend any special occasion!

hard to see, but that's Sam & Gio walking through Petaluma after we had dinner at the delicious Old Chicago (which used to be a brothel)


that's right people. cherry dump cake after dinner. YUM!!

just a lil bit of heaven

willow with her valentine
It's fun to have a reason to celebrate.  But why can't our reason just be life?  Hey, it's Thursday afternoon and we are loved by God - let's celebrate!  I'm okay with that.  And I think I'll work on making that more the way I live - celebrating every moment for the gift that it is.

4 comments:

  1. Love this post - you articulate your thoughts so well! I completely agree with you...100%!! Jared and I are fans of having random/spontaneous dates all the time too. I love it :)

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  2. I actually have a different view of Valentine's Day but that is why I love you Kim, we can disagree and love each other! I grew up with a mom who decorated for Valentine's Day, made all food heart shaped and pink and bought us gifts. My grandparents in a different town mailed us gifts. It was a great day so now I do the same with my kids. Even the oatmeal had pink heart sprinkles yesterday! So I use the day to celebrate love, not just romantic love and my kids love the day as much as I do. And hopefully some day when they are single they will still love it because they know it is more than romantic love. Even when I was single I celebrated it with joy and gave Valentines to my friends and coworkers. Everyone likes to be told they are loved or appreciated and frankly I would feel stupid giving my neighbor or coworker a note saying how much I enjoy their casual friendship on any other day! (Sometimes I do but it is easier on Valentine's Day.) So I feel it is a day to celebrate show love, especially to the forgotten, we just need more people to look for the forgotten. AND as I write that I am hoping someone showed love to the kids at Children's Village yesterday and I am irritated I didn't think of it sooner!

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  3. I do like the idea of showing friendly love to people we otherwise would take for granted or just assume that they know how we feel. And I wholeheartedly agree with you, that you're in a romantic relationship every day of the year, so it shouldn't take a holiday for you to enjoy each other or do something special. :)

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  4. thanks for the input people. :) and kristen, it actually sounds like we agree! what you do on valentine's day sounds like the day of celebrating love in all it's forms that i said i wish existed. in fact, i totally want to do that. if everyone had that same attitude, i think i'd look forward to valentine's day so much more! i guess i should have clarified that i don't like the attitude that some people seem to have about only focusing on romantic love. that's where i think it becomes exclusive and i don't like it. sorry though, last night i was just rambling so i wasn't very articulate. :)

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