Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

Surprise! I'm still here!

I was a little shocked this morning to look at my old blog and discover it had been three days shy of a year since I last posted. Time flies, or something.

Since Valentine's Day has come around again, here are a few thoughts on the holiday:

I give my kids gifts on Valentine's Day. This year the gifts included Starbucks gift cards, games, books, and, for my granddaughter, a little figurine of a baby dragon breaking out of its shell. My husband got a card. I might get one, too, if he has time to swing through a card shop before the day ends.

For some reason this day for us has always been about kids rather than romance. Partly, I guess, we get all the romance we need in our day-to-day. But there's also the feeling that the most romantic thing we've done has been to produce and raise these kids. They're us, projected into the future.

I suspect Valentine's Day makes more people unhappy than happy. As I see it, there are four kinds of people: first there are the newly-in-love who adore the whole concept - a tiny segment of the population of which I have little if any firsthand knowledge. Then there are the ones in a stable relationship who don't do much by way of celebration because, after all, Christmas was just the other day, and who needs another reason to spend money and gain weight? Next up are the people in a relationship - whether happy or not - whose expectations regarding this day are never quite met. And finally, we have the people who aren't in a relationship and who wish they were. For them, this is a day to contemplate their failure to thrive in the world of romance. Sad, and not a good way to spend a day at any time, much less deep in the doldrums of February.

On the other hand, it's a very good day for people who sell cards, candy, and flowers. So there's that.

I don't know if this is a made-up holiday, or if there was an actual person named Valentine who was so spiritually inspired and inspiring that he was sanctified by the Catholic Church. Kevin Bacon played a terrific Valentine in the movie Tremors, though.

I'd love to spend Valentine's Day every year cocooned in front of a crackling fire with a good book and a bottomless pot of hot soup. I suppose it goes back to that 'February doldrums' business. In fact, if it weren't for the money to be made by the romance-merchants, I'd think this holiday was invented to lighten people's spirits in that dark space before spring begins to make itself felt. As a spirit lightener, of course, it's a bit of flop - review long paragraph above. Still, the decorations are red and white. That's gotta count for something.

All rightie, then. I've gone on long enough in this vein. If you're in the right frame of mind to enjoy this day then, by all means, have a Happy Valentine's Day. If you're not, my condolences. Next up will be Saint Paddy's Day and green beer and leprechauns, all of which I enjoy, and none of which are likely to inspire another soul-searching ramble like this one. So take heart.

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