This morning when I was posting my daily Facebook status I entered:
Happy made up holiday that makes people spend too much money when they should show people they love them every day of the year and makes people without a significant other feel like crap even though they shouldn’t! Hope it’s a good one!
Ok, I know it’s not really a made-up holiday. I know that St. Valentine was real. Yes. Actually, I know that they were real. There were two Valentines – Valentine of Terni and Valentine of Rome. They lived in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and are actual saints. I’ll spare you the long stories of the things they did, but suffice it to say they had to do with love, marriage, and other frilly & foofie stuff that existed not long after Jesus did. Valentine’s Day has been celebrated as we do now – with flowers, candy, cards, and other ridiculous gifts – since the 15th century. The holiday just won’t die.
However, I know I’m not alone in having some disdain towards this particular “holiday”. As with everything, it has been mass marketed and hyped up as a way for couples to buy gifts, be suckered into expensive meals out, and as the perfect day for a proposal or a wedding.
As an adult, I sort of find this whole idea nauseating. Why? Because if you love someone, you should let them know on a regular basis. Not a day goes by in our home where my husband and I don’t say that we love each other, or that we don’t tell our daughter how much we love her. From talking to others, and in somewhat of my experience, I know that this sort of behavior is a fairly new thing. As a child, I knew I was loved by my parents and grandparents, but it wasn’t an every day – or even every week – occurrence to be told this. I never felt deprived or unloved, but there is a sort of comfort in hearing it frequently.
As a parent, it’s now a challenge to compete with other Pinterest-minded moms who create the craftiest crafts to give their child’s classmates. 1. I’m about as crafty as a crocodile. 2. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Valentine’s parties are fine for the preschool set. Everyone is practicing writing their names and the kids are in awe with the little trinkets they receive. But as they grow a little older, kids can suddenly become aware that they are handing out the $2.99 box of Spiderman cards when little Joey’s mom has crafted everyone their own Spiderman web sprayer with a card saying “I’ve caught you in my web of love”. (Feel free to steal that and use it next year). Not every parent has the time OR money to compete this way.
Remember being an awkward teen in junior high and high school when you could send flowers or gifts to your friends and the proceeds went to some school-related organization? Yeah. It was fun to send them, but it sucked to be on the non-receiving end. How depressing to sit and watch the popular girls get flower after flower, and the hot guys get a candy store full of chocolate. Sure, it’s a great fundraiser and awesome for those who received, but for teenage self-esteems that already were teetering on disaster, it was downright humiliating to sit empty handed.
As you grow older, it easily can become “singles awareness day”, with all the hearts, candy, flowers, and more being waved in front of you – with Facebook announcements of engagements, weddings, or even receiving expensive gifts. I most definitely had moments of feeling this way, but by the time I was in my late 20′s and had been single for a few years I realized that the idea of ONE day a year to express your love to another was pretty ridiculous.
The point is, like every other holiday it has become over-commercialized and shoved in our faces. Prices are hiked up on flowers, candy, dinners, you name it. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating it, and I certainly don’t judge you for doing so, as long as you realize that not everyone shares your enthusiasm. And if you’re single and bummed, really, don’t be. You’re still an awesome person each and every day and there are people who care for you and love you with or without that greeting card or diamond earrings. The bottom line is love freely and openly. Let those who you love know. Give flowers on random Tuesdays and go to dinners with your friends and let them know how much they mean to you over a few bottles of wine in June. Love isn’t about the biggest or best craft, giving flowers or eating surf and turf. Love happens 365 days a year and is expressed in myriad ways without costing a thing. Tomorrow is a new day – let someone know how much you love them.