Despite all of my declarations about how I was no longer going to subject myself to the media's brainwashing after the Aqua-Fresh toothpaste incident, I still want to celebrate Valentine's Day. Yes, its a made-up holiday, but so what. It's an excuse to eat chocolate, go to a nice restaurant, give and receive gifts. It's a chance to celebrate, and I'll take any excuse I can get to celebrate.
But I've been trying to put this disappointment in perspective. When I was married, both husbands forgot Valentine's Day one year, and that really sucked. So it's not like being in a relationship guarantees that you'll have a good Valentine's Day. To be honest, most of them haven't even been that memorable.
In fact, the gifts I remember the most are the ones from my dad. When I was younger he always bought a heart-shaped box of chocolates for my mom and me. I had the smaller box, of course. And last year he gave me this beautiful necklace with a gold heart pendant that says "For my daughter" on one side and "You are my pride and joy" on the other side. What guy can compete with that?
And the best card I've ever gotten was from my baby brother, Romeo. I was 16 at the time, and I was talking to a friend on the phone, lamenting the fact that I wasn’t going to get anything for Valentine's Day—not even a card.
Then for some reason I was talking about my fears of death and getting old, which I told you about in a previous blog. Romeo was playing on the living room floor, seemingly oblivious to my conversation. But when he heard me talk about getting old, he stopped playing and said that he was afraid of getting old, too. He was 9 at the time, so maybe the fear of aging runs in my family.
A few minutes later, Romeo came running down the hall, telling me that he made a card for me. I had forgotten how quickly you can make a card when you’re a kid. It was made with blue construction paper and a red crayon. There were some hearts and a Happy Valentine’s Day on the front. And inside he wrote that I didn't need to worry about getting old and that he loved me. Or something to that effect. I wasn't able to read it very clearly, what with the tears and all.
After that I understood why parents prefer the cards that their kids spend 5 minutes making over the cards that their kids spend 5 minutes buying at Hallmark. I have received many Valentine’s Day cards since then, and that one is by far my favorite.
Maybe it's good that I was alone on Valentine's Day this year. My solitude has given me the opportunity to realize that I've never been alone on Valentine's Day. I've always been loved and always will be loved by my family. And there's no better gift than that, really.