Ahhh, so the world around me reminds me that today is Valentine's Day. Those who know that John and I got engaged a little less than a week before this holiday know I've never been fond of it. In fact, most times when we tell our engagement story, the first question people ask him is, "Why didn't you wait a few days and propose on Valentine's Day?" His reply is usually, "Because she would have either said no or killed me if I did." He knows me well!
Needless to say, I don't like it. I think that my senior year in college was when I finally gave up on my desperate attempts to dodge disappointment and depression on February 14th. On that day, I wore all black clothing, black lipstick, black nail polish, and I even dyed my hair black. (It was temporary dye and sort of looked an odd greenish color over my blond by the end of the day, but it made the statement I was looking for.) I wasn't in mourning or turning Goth; I just wanted to bring some balance to all the giddy pink- and red-clad girls everywhere I looked. A few of my friends from college still contact me each year to ask me what color I chose to wear.
I'm not down on love--in fact I think love is one of the most wonderful things with which God has gifted us. I'm just down on someone else dictating to me when I should celebrate love. I'm down on women's silent expectations and men's guilt-laden attempts to live up to them.
If you celebrate Valentine's Day, that's great for you and you won't catch me telling you that you shouldn't. For me, it was always a day that ended up being disappointing, no matter what my relationship status was. And usually the day after Valentine's Day is one of complaining and commiseration. Not my favorite things.
John and I have been married for almost ten years, and we realize that we have so many other days throughout the year to celebrate our love: our engagement anniversary, our wedding anniversary, the anniversary of our first date, our first kiss, etc. Plus, we have this silly ritual of seeing who will first wish the other a "Happy 18th" every month, as we were married on the 18th of July. Sometimes it's in the middle of the night when one of our kids wakes up, sometimes first thing in the morning, or sometimes it's a text message as we are driving opposite directions in the middle of a busy day. We have many ways we celebrate our love, and February 14th just isn't on that list.
For the last few years I've returned to wearing a more Valentine-y color--for the sake of my daughter. I decided I didn't want Lucy to grow up jaded on my behalf. She is her daddy's Valentine, and for her that means being surprised with something special from him like a red balloon or a pack of heart-shaped stickers and a few extra snuggles to remind her what a special girl she is and how very much she is loved. Watching John show his love for her makes me love him even more, and I have to smile as I realize that in this place in my life, it's not the worst day after all.
(Side note: Last year my one and only niece Elianna was born on Valentine's Day, so now we have a very special reason to celebrate this day! Happy First Birthday, Elli!)
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