Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine Reflecting

Ahhhhh.  I'm like a new woman.  I got out last night with SIL1 and had a lovely meal and some lovely wine, and I'm feeling refreshed and renewed.  It was so great to just sit and talk for a while.  Highly effective therapy for my rut, too.

And speaking of my little rut, I want to thank you all for the kind words yesterday and the night before about my most recent post.  That one was a toughie, and it means so much to me to be able to put that kind of stuff out there and have it met with such compassion.  Thank you thank you thank you.

So Valentine's Day is coming up, folks.  And whether you love it or hate it, you can't help but have some kind of feeling about it.  I'm fortunate to have a pretty groovy hubby, so I like it.  But I remember hating it sometimes in the past.

When I was in grade school, it caused me a lot of angst.  I always had major crushes, and the object of those crushes usually did not know that I existed.  We would decorate our valentine boxes and hope for a lot of valentines on the big day at school.  Decorating the valentines box was something I took very seriously, and something I miss.  I can't even make up for it much with my kids, since they're boys and they have very little patience for doilies or the color pink, much less glitter.  But oh, the boxes I made when I was a kid!  I remember going through my valentines very seriously.  First, addressing my own ones to give out--I remember picking out what I thought were the best, most lovey-dovey ones from the package, and addressing them so carefully for the cutest boys.  Then I would give the ones that I thought were lame to the mean girls or to the boys who picked on me.  And I was much less careful with my penmanship on those ones.  So there!  But back then I don't recall that it was required that you give one to every kid in the class, and I remember vividly not getting them from everyone.  If I did get some from the cute boys, I treasured them, and I imagined that they absolutely meant the sentiment that was written on the card.  I am half proud and half embarrassed to admit that I still have some of those goofy little valentines.

Then in Junior High it was just painful.  But everything in junior high was painful.  Around Valentine's Day back then, there were no valentine boxes.  And we were too young to really go to dances.  They did try to put on a "dance" in the cafeteria around V-day, but it ended up something where I probably dressed up way too much, and snuck into the girls' bathroom to apply some contraband blue eyeshadow, and then went to the dance where it was just big groups of kids standing around and some music playing but everyone generally feeling uncomfortable until their parents came to pick them up.  Then you walk outside and carefully dodge the creepy smokers to climb into the car and go home.  The other way kids celebrated Valentine's Day in junior high was to take out these weird little things with the student council where you could have someone in the student council deliver a candy with a note or something to your girlfriend or boyfriend or even the object of your crush.  I would see them come in to classes during the day with their candygrams, and hope hope hope, all to no avail.  I was always one of the candiless kids.  Awww.  Or, you could be really bold and call the radio station and request a song!  Remember that?  The big one at the time was "You're the Inspiration" by Chicago.  I remember at Valentine's Day when they'd play that song on the top40 station, I'd listen so carefully to the list (that took like 15 minutes to read off) of all the dedications they received for it, hoping that I'd be there, but never was.  Of course, I was never brave enough to call and dedicate one either....

And High School.  This is when it gets serious.  There's usually a big dance.  Whether it's a winter formal, a turnabout, or a Sadie Hawkins, it was a big one.  There's dates.  There's flowers.  The student council did the candy gram thing again, but this time it was with roses.  At least these years weren't painful.  I still had unrequited love, of course, but by this time I had girlfriends who also had unrequited loves.  That makes it way easier.  We would watch all the flower grams, not receiving one, not sending one.  We would listen to the radio still, but mostly it was the junior high kids doing the dedications.  We would see all the couples holding hands in the hall, making out at their lockers.  Sometimes we would sort of have boyfriends, but Valentine's Day was always stressful.  We would go to the highschool parties together, and drive home giggling about the boys we were crushing on.  Overall, it wasn't bad back then.  I did have a boyfriend my senior year of highschool, so I had a date to the dance.  Phew!

College.  I remember Valentine's Days in college.  If I had a boyfriend, I was with him.  I was dumped right before a Valentine's Day one year, but I remember a sweet friend of mine who took me out on a date and gave me roses to make me feel better.  He's probably the one I should have dated back then.  If I only knew then what I know now...  I had wilder girlfriends in college, so a few Valentine's Days were spent in bars, raging about ex-boyfriends or trying to find new ones, and getting loud and silly the whole time.  Those were sad but fun ones.

And then I got together with the hubby.  Our first Valentine's Day was 18 years ago, and he took me to this place called Murray's in downtown Minneapolis, an old fancy steak place that his grandma used to go to when she was young.  We LOVED it, and have been going there for Valentine's Day every year since.  As I get older, I look forward to that night so much.  A night where we get out, without the kids, gorge ourselves on amazing steak and garlic toasts, chat about everything and nothing, and toast another year of us and of Murray's.  I can't wait!  Even though that's all we do.  We don't exchange gifts.  We don't always even do cards.  But every Valentine's Day with him is better than any of the ones I had before him.  And that makes me love this silly time of year.  And look back at the ones from the past and feel nostalgic for my youth, but so grateful that I survived all that crap!  Now I get to watch my kids address their valentines.  They don't care who gets which ones, they just want to get them done in a hurry.  That makes me feel a little more understanding about the 4th grade boys in my past.  They just grab a shoebox and draw some hearts on it with a red sharpie.  They do NOT want to talk about girls, and certainly don't want to notice them yet.  Those poor little girls at their school.  I know exactly what they're going through.


  1. OMG, TS! This post is killing me softly! I remember shoebox Valentine's mail; and I remember never, ever having my crushes requited (and hey -at least your "streak" ended in high school and you started dating)! But all that's over now, because I'm happily...I mean, at least I'm ...wait...Jesus, take the wheel. My life is the same as it was when I was eight!

  2. We did Valentines last night and D took the time to carefully pick which ones he thought each person in his class would like. He got sport Valentines and made sure that each boy and girl got the sport they would like. J on the other hand just wanted to get it over with....LOL! But.....they each bought "something special" for their "girlfriends" and they want to deliver them on V-day to them personally. So, we will see how that goes......;) I still remember getting flowers from a boy in grade school and I was to "shy" to answer the door, but my Mom took a picture of me with the flowers and I still have it! LOL! Have a wonderful dinner with your hubby sweetie! We need to meet soon!