Be my valentine...but be it from 6-ft away
I can't be the only one dreaming of the day when we don't have to cover our faces and stand at a distance. I'm longing to hug friends, shake hands, and be in confined spaces with people again. But...that's not what today's post is about...
I am definitely the lovey-feely-sensitive type. I love closeness, I love having people in my life, and I love holding my husband's hand. Kind words, unexpected visits, and just knowing that I've been thought of makes my heart happy and my soul feel refreshed. Hallmark movies are my "safe place" and it thrills me when love wins.
But...I am definitely NOT the Valentine's Day type (at least in the romantic sense of the day)! The romantic aspects of Valentine's day have always felt awkward for me. I was an unbelievably insecure young girl (that hid behind a big personality) and Valentine's day was filled with anxiety and lots and lots of self-doubt. Even as I grew into a teenager and found myself on the receiving end of unexpected and special valentine surprises, I struggled with insecurity and discomfort around the entire romanticized idea of Valentine's day. (But, I ALWAYS appreciated when someone went out of their way to give me a gift...I just didn't always have the comfort or skill to accept it gracefully).
Luckily, I married my best friend and favorite person, who feels the same way about the so-called "holiday". We don't celebrate Valentine's day as a couple because we both feel as though we do a pretty good job the other 364 days of the year showing our care, love, and respect for each other. I must say...this is a HUGE relief! Even in a long-term, committed, healthy relationship, I am relieved each year that I don't have to fret over what gift to give the guy that has everything. And to be honest, there isn't a gift in this world that could capture what he means to me, so why even try.
But...we do have kids. And as a mother, I feel as though it is my job to help my kids navigate Valentine's Day in a healthy manner, especially since I have two girls navigating the start of their teen years. My own mother is amazing. She's a gift-whisperer who can give gifts that you didn't know you needed or wanted, and they are always awesome. As a child she always had something special waiting for us on Valentine's Day. One year I received the original version of "Littlest Pet Shops" hamsters. They were AMAZING!! Super tiny and with the BEST accessories. They even had a small water bottle and little shreds of paper to put into their tiny little cage.
As I got older, I remember receiving a denim jacket as my valentine surprise (and my love for "jean jackets" has persisted long into adulthood). Needless to say, my mom was "killing it" as a mom, long before the term "killing it" existed.
And that's the kind of Valentine's celebration I can get behind: A little gesture to let my kids (or someone else) know that they are thought of. And let's face it, if ever there was a year that we all need to know that someone thinks fondly of us, it's this year.
For many, Valentine's Day is filled with unmet expectations and disappointment. For other's like me, it was filled with awkwardness and uncertainty thanks to gifts and interactions that I was unsure of (but also the joy of my mother's sweet sentiments). But what those things have in common is that the feel of Valentine's Day is created by our responses to what someone else does or does not do for us. And if there is something I have learned working in the field of recovery, it is that we CANNOT control what others do for us or to us. But we can take control of a day like Valentine's Day by focusing on what we do have control over: Our own thoughts and actions.
I'm tired of being 6-feet away from people I care about and I'm tired of not knowing when life will return to the way it was last February 14th. But, I also know that I can't control either of those things. So this Valentine's Day I will continue to celebrate Valentine's day the way that I am comfortable doing: Celebrating those that I care about rather than being expected to make the day about hallmark-inspired romance.
I want to show my girls how to embrace and navigate an awkward situation (if one should occur this Valentine's Day) but I really want to show them how to take control of their celebration-of-choice. So...we're baking cookies. Delicious, heart-shaped, pink sugar
cookies. We're packaging them up in pretty display and delivering them to our favorite people. We'll pop-in with our unexpected deliveries in hopes of bringing a smile on a cold February day (many of them still while maintaining our social-distance). We'll make a joke about having a "Weird" day due to a pandemic and most likely take a group selfie at every door-step to commemorate our ding-dong-ditch Valentine's day adventure.
Later in the evening, I'll joke to my husband that we are the most romantic couple in the world as we enjoy our sweatpants on our couch. And you know what...my joke will actually be an accurate portrayal of who we are: a couple that can enjoy the little moments every day that make us not need to celebrate February 14th.
When it all comes down to it, I cannot pretend that I don't like a surprise gift or a romantic card. But I feel as though there is a huge difference between a "surprise" sentiment and a "forced" sentiment. It's the "forced" that makes me feel so AWKWARD and uncomfortable.
And remember, this is only my experience. These are my thoughts, my decisions, and my ways of handling the recurring events that so-long-ago had a lasting impression on my life. Some of you love Valentine's Day. Some of you love having an excuse to steal-away with your sweetheart or anxiously await a valentine surprise. Believe it or not, but I love hearing your stories and I love seeing your excitement. After all, I am a lover of Hallmark Movies!
So I won't ask you to be my valentine, because it's just not my thing. But I will ask you to be my friend, to be part of my day, and to keep coming back.
Disclaimer: Blog posts reflect the opinions and experiences of the specific blogger and do not reflect the views or beliefs of Peerstar llc as an organization.