By Amy McCollom
Ok, so the title might give it away; but I have some mixed emotions when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day. First off, there are so many different stories about where the celebration came from that no one knows for sure why or what we are celebrating, so how can I get on board with something I am not clearly isn’t some evil pagan ritual?
Some stories say it was started by a priest who was named Valentine, who married soldiers to their young ladies against the decree of a mean Roman emperor, and thus was beheaded because of it. Other stories say Valentine was a prisoner, who sent a letter to the jailer’s daughter signed, from Your Valentine, the night before he was beheaded. Other stories here and there tell different stories of Greek mythology, yet no one story stands above another. One story tells about a pagan sacrifice to a god of fertility using a goat and a dog, and then the goat skin is cut into strips and the strips are used to smack the ladies in the village supposedly bringing good fertility throughout the year. I’d rather receive chocolate, myself.
From the 1800’s, Valentine’s Day has been a popular holiday to send cards. Today, unless you go to the Dollar Tree, Valentine’s Day cards can be quite expensive. Some cards on the Hallmark.com website are very elaborate and beautiful, and probably worth the $8.99 that they cost. But then, what do people do with all of those greeting cards once you’ve read them. Do you treasure them forever? Well, there are a lot of great ideas on Pinterest of things to do with used cards to reuse and repurpose them. Some are very simple and clever.
Remember those first Valentines we had to give out at school? We had to be careful punching them out or they would tear, because the paper was so thin. Every single one of them said something about love. I was in the third grade; I wasn’t ready for that much commitment, it was too soon! Still, we had to give one to each kid in our class.
I had to help my little brother make out his Valentines for his Kindergarten class. I tried as best as I could to punch them out without letting them tear. Then he wanted to pick out a Valentine for each person in his class. He kept avoiding this one girl, I will call her Virginia, not her real name. I asked him why he didn’t want to pick one out for her, and he said that she was mean to him. So we finished picking out Valentines for all of the other classmates until just Virginia was left.
There were two Valentines left, and both of them said “I Love You Valentine!” right there on the top. My brother looked at me, with all seriousness, and pleading for help in his eyes,
“But, but, I don’t love her. I don’t even like her! She is mean to me. She pushes me down, she takes my crayons. But I’ll get in trouble if I don’t give her one…”
So with all of my eight years of wisdom, I took my pen and scratched out the word love on Valentine and wrote above it hate.
“There, now she will still get a Valentine, but you won’t be lying. How’s that?”
My brother smiled and I felt like a good big sister. My work here was done.
The next day after school, my brother was really upset. As I walked by his classroom to pick him up for our walk home, I could see him looking worried and trying to squeeze his way out the door to get to me.
“Hurry! They are all mad at me! Virginia opened her Valentine from me and started crying, and all her friends gathered around her, and now they want to hurt me. The teacher said she is calling Mom.”
Well, crap. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Love is a serious thing; you can’t let your emotions get involved. And when you are eight and five, you don’t know the first thing about love.
Valentine’s Day is ripe for misunderstandings. Like the time I made my boyfriend a heart-shaped cake. But it was only big enough to write Happy V.D. on it.
Not to mention the cost of Valentine’s Day cards. When I was younger it would have cost me a small fortune to send out “real” Valentine’s to all of my suitors. Thank goodness they all liked hand-written poetry and didn’t mind a photo-copy.
So you get the card and the flowers that die in three days and have the over-priced steak dinner. Yes, it’s a given that you will get that every year. Or those nasty Stover chocolates. So what would make my Valentine’s day a happier one? If my true love really knew me, and could surprise me with something that was personal just for me. My favorite song, a hand-written note of adoration, a piece of jewelry he chose just for me, and of course, a steak dinner with a loaded sweet potato, and side of mushrooms. How about an albino ferret! A persian kitten! A trip to Disney World! Ok, a pink velour sweatsuit. Some Lindor chocolate, at least. How about getting the shower put in the master bathroom. Ordering cable t.v. Darn, I’ve lost the romance now, haven’t I?…
Too many times in life we all just go with the flow. Life is too short for such folly. Do things your way. Make every moment mean something special. If you love someone, show them in the truest, deepest way you can. This could be your last chance. Besides, ferrets aren’t that expensive and it’s the gift that will love you back. Just saying.