I cannot stand Valentine's Day. Not one bit. It's a fake. It's not even real. I mean, I know that we celebrate it in honor of St. Valentine, and during the Middle Ages it was all the rage. Really, though, I think that Hallmark and Victoria's Secret have hijacked our brains through subliminal messages so that we all feel the urge to go out and spend inordinate amounts of money on chocolate, lingerie, and roses.
Alright, I may make the heart-shaped cake and try and do special things for the family on the 14th, but I am not going to go crazy and I certainly don't want anyone buying me anything. For real.
Do I sound bitter? Are you thinking that there must be some horror story behind my hatred of a holiday centered on sharing love?
I'm thinking that my dislike of the day came during my early years of motherhood. I read magazine articles about how to make the day special for your spouse, your kids, your parents, your neighbors and the mail carrier. My efforts always seemed to fall short. I am too cheap to buy the Valentine's cards for the kids to exchange with other children, plus we homeschool, so who the heck are we going to exchange with? I usually had just gotten all of our Christmas decorations put away and didn't have the energy to decorate for another holiday. Especially not if I was going to decorate for the 4th of July. I tried to keep Valentine's Day out of my marriage, too. I think my husband bought me cards, but I didn't keep any of them. I know he never got me gifts.
Until last year, that is.
Last year started out like any other Valentine's Day with me declaring that we would not be participating in the silliness of it all. The kids guiltily looked up from their construction paper hearts and tried to hide their handiwork. Lee looked jubilant but nodded his head. I was suspicious.
Upon returning from a trip to the library, which was cut short by the fact that there were Valentine books and activities everywhere, my husband was waiting in the parking lot. He had a box in his hands and was jumping up and down. That's always worrisome.
"I got you a Valentine's gift!!" he was shouting as he pulled me from the car. The kids must have been in on it because they were jumping, too. Someone got the baby out of the van and we made our way into the kitchen. The box was promptly torn open.
Roses. He got me roses on Valentine's Day, which must have cost a fortune! The miser in me was grumbling but I smiled to hide my chagrin.
Under the roses were chocolates and a small teddy bear. Now, I love chocolate. I mean LOVE chocolate.
As the kids fought over ownership of the silly teddy bear I opened the box to enjoy a chocolate. Lee was so happy, so proud. I wanted him to watch me enjoy his gift. I bit into the square of chocolate that I imagined was holding an amazing center of caramel or some other delightful confection.
I closed my eyes to savor the moment.
I then experienced the most excruciating pain since childbirth. It started at my bottom left molar and extended through the top of my head down into my chest. I screamed. I ran in circles in the kitchen. Lee was still jumping and clapping his hands because he thought my scream was filled with pleasure not pain.
"My tooth, my tooth!" I yelled. The children gathered around while Lee backed away. One of the kids,the one who had stolen a piece of chocolate, figured out the problem.
"It's frozen! The chocolate is frozen!" Oh, yes, the chocolate was frozen, and had cracked my molar.
Apparently Lee had been listening to Rush Limbaugh (WHY???) whose show was offering a Valentine's Day package of chocolate, roses, and a teddy bear. Lee, who loves to please me, and who is especially vulnerable to the lures of advertising, called immediately. The gift was set to arrive via UPS on Valentine's Day. In his defense, he couldn't have known the chocolate was frozen. Perhaps if I were not so vulnerable to the lures of chocolate I would have noticed that they were cold and hard.
The next day I had to have the stupid tooth pulled. The children ate the rest of the chocolate and I guess tore the bear to shreds. The roses comforted me after having the tooth pulled, however. So I guess we saved some money there!
Suffice to say, this year I hope that all I get for V-Day is a tube of Sensodyne.