Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Revisited & Redefined

valentines day
Originally uploaded by
rebecca anne
I hated Valentine's Day. As a teenager, I boycotted it. I donned all black and bitched about stupid made-up Halmark holidays.

To this day, my husband and I don't celebrate it. When it comes to companies encouraging people to spend insane amounts of money to honor a painful pagan fertility festival, I still feel as snarky as I did when I was 16.

Once I had kids, though, I found myself longing for the Valentine's Days of my youth, the ones full of glitter-covered hand-made cards and pink cupcakes with red sprinkles.

This year, our homeschool group had a Valentine's Day party with a card exchange. The kids had a blast. I had a blast. It was so much fun and helped put me in another frame of mind.

While we don't celebrate it, I still found myself missing my husband today even more than usual. That longing made me feel the first itch of pitty for myself.  But how can you feel sorry for yourself when the little people in your life insist on addressing Valentine's Day cards to everyone they've ever met?  Watching a little friend tote your youngest around so sweetly through nearly the entire party tugs the corners of your mouth in an upward direction.   When your son demands to give his Hebrew teacher his very favorite brand new Toy Story Valentine pencil, you simply can't feel down.

I think I've found a way to reframe the day so that I can truly enjoy it.  Instead of the sappy jewel-incrusted anti-single-fest Valentine's Day has been forced into, I found myself enjoying time with friends and watching my children doing the same (only their interactions contained far more screeching and hanging upside down than mine).  It made me thankful for it all--my friends, my kids, my situation in life, my husband (even if he's not here), my marriage (which can survive these absences time and time again) and yes, pink cupcakes with edible heart decorations.

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