Wednesday, February 19, 2014

F*** Valentine's Day

I used to be a wallflower in the dating department--always on the outside, looking in. A late bloomer, I didn't date much in high school, beyond the requisite school dances and I definitely didn't "go with" anybody, like a lot of my peers did. At least, not on purpose. My accidental 15 seconds of being part of a high school couple is a story for another post. Anyway, back then my experience with love was pretty much limited to yearly unrequited crushes on guys who barely noticed me. College and most of my twenties were exercises in confusion and frustration as I tried on love in its various forms, never finding a perfect fit for myself, and Valentine's Day always made it much, much worse.

From the other side of that plate glass window, it seemed so great. All around me in school were girls who inspired deliveries of carnations and stuffed bears to 5th hour and song dedications on the radio. And later on, my coupled female friends got breakfast in bed, rose-petal strewn walkways, moonlit seranades, expensive candlelit dinners, long-stemmed bouquets and marriage proposals, while I sat on the sidelines, wearing black in solidarity with my uncoupled compatriots for another year, maligning the tyranny of the Hallmark Holiday and hating that fat baby with his bow and arrow, while secretly envying those who had someone to make a fuss over them, no matter how contrived.

My expectations for the day have mellowed with time and experience, but I'll admit, part of me still holds my breath in anticipation and anxiety, even though I haven't had to celebrate one by myself in a long time. I no longer expect to hold hands across a quiet candlelit dinner for two, unless I'm willing to eat after 8, when my son goes down for bed (I'm not) or to pony up for a sitter and an expensive dinner out (um...I'm not). I no longer hope for late nights in fancy clothes, new-release movies or moonlit serenades (it's cold in February. I'm not that mean), but after reviewing my last V-Day, I'm inclined to think I don't have it so bad.

This February 14, instead of breakfast in bed, I woke up (early) to a surly toddler who I got to wrestle into antibacterial ointment and an Elmo bandaid (long story). After that cold shower of an introduction, the day continued on its usual trajectory of crazy--shower, breakfast, fighting said toddler away from the iPad, into clothes and out the door, while rattling off the checklist of items that needed to go with us (laptop, purse, keys, valentines, daycare party treats, PHONE)--then, we were off. And only 15 minutes behind schedule. Blergh...

Instead of sonnets, I got a quirky e-card emailed to me while I was at work that made me laugh and roll my eyes--my favorite from years past is the one where a sheep with my man's voice whispered sweet nothings to me. It was so creepy and it was perfect. I didn't get roses delivered to my office because I prefer lilies and he prefers to choose them and to gift them in person to see my reaction.

Instead of a quiet candlelit dinner, I got a meal at home without flaming fire sticks for my kid to knock over, that I personally didn't have to plan, shop for, or prepare (sweet bliss). The Buddy spent most of his time singing songs and spinning in butt-circles on the floor while we ate. Between circles, he ate a few bites. Those facts, plus the wine (yay!), made all the crazy worth it.

By 8:15, I was cuddled with my love, watching 'Midnight in Paris.' By 8:30, I was asleep. But before I faded off, I remember saying, "Happy Valentine's Day, babe," to which he replied, "F*** Valentine's Day. We get all this love every day."

Not bad at all.

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