When I was a kid, I loved Valentine's day. And it wasn't so much all the candy, the cards from friends and crushes, the teddy bears, the balloons. I mean, those things were great; don't get me wrong. But what I loved the most were the cards and poems from my parents.
My mother always wrote me little poems. She put them in my lunchbox, in my sock drawer, on the counter paper-clipped to my lunch money, slid under the windshield wiper of my car. They were mostly silly little things:
Roses are Red,
Violets are blue,
Here's some ice cream money,
Because I love you.
They made me smile.
I saved a ton of them.
My father bought me my then-favorite candy at least once a month: a Caramello. I still love them, but rarely eat them. He would open my bedroom door and toss it to me, saying "I love you, bud".
On Valentine's day, there would be a Caramello at my place on the kitchen table, and a red envelope containing my father's straight-backed cursive: "To my Bud-Will you be mine?" Next to it would be silly candy from my mother, and a new "Roses are Red" poem.
None of the other stuff mattered, the bears, the cards, the love notes from a crush, as long as those sincere and true love things were there on the table.
Now? Now I feel that Valentine's day is a RACKET. Yes, I said it. It's full of cards that mean something to only the person buying them, flowers that will wilt in a day or so, candy and little knick knacks that will end up under my kid's bed, or in the dog's mouth. I guess I feel like the sentiment left when all the foo-foo stuff set in? Or maybe I don't like it because I can never find things that really convey my love for my hard-to-buy-for hubby? And me, the one who has a way with words, finds herself staring at a blank journal page when she tries to write a well thought-out, sincere love note to him. I am the only one that saves these cards, stuffing them in the top drawer of my night stand, where I occasionally pull them out and read them. It all sounds so cheesy and canned and insincere, even though it isn't. Yet, every year I strive to do, say, or write something that is heartfelt and sincere.
This year, I will focus on my little girl. I am making her easy chocolate-covered strawberries. I will find a silly card that will make her smile. I will buy her a little cupcake, give her lots of kisses, and write her a simple poem. I will do this every year, so that she will have pleasant memories of this day, no matter how old she is.
And in doing so, I hope to re-discover the real pleasure and sentiment behind this holiday.