Ghosts of Valentines Past

I’m showing up. I’m writing. But more importantly, my mindset is better today. Whatever was pulling me down is gone. I’m back to feeling freer and happier, despite the mound of laundry staring me down. I need to hang and fold and put away, but I really needed to get out and enjoy the unseasonable warmth and sweat a little with Gretchen. So… I did. Now, we’re getting ready to settle in for the Superbowl.

It’s a new month and my new favorite month. I’ve disliked Valentine’s Day since at least Kindergarten. I remember arguing with my mother and anyone else who would listen about the ridiculousness of being forced to send a sappy card to every single person in my class. Fair?! No way! Early on, I valued candor highly and had no desire to give bullies little hearts that said they were the cat’s meow or whatever. One or both of my parents ended up buying several of those class-sized boxes, so I had enough simple “Happy Valentine’s Day!” versions to placate my young forthright heart… and mouth.

Fast-forward to middle school or junior high, or whatever it was called where you were. Early teenage angst and insecurities were blown out of proportion when some well-meaning (and wise marketing) adults agreed the French Club should/could sell giant flowers made of dime store tissue paper and thin wire. I think it was white, red and yellow, each with a different meaning. I bought as many yellow (friendship) flowers as my dear ol’ Dad would finance, and sure enough, kids were counting flowers and making fun of those who got none as soon as the flower deliveries started. I hated it. I hated getting flowers from people I didn’t send them to, I hated having more flowers than some friends, and I’m sure I didn’t like having fewer flowers than the super-popular ones either.

Adulthood, even as one of the only female firefighters, was no better. The entire shift watched to see if I got flowers, from whom, and on the off chance I was not working on the dreaded day, I was still grilled before and after about my plans, any gifts received, etc. And yeah, I still hated getting flowers or candy from the wrong person, with the whole dang shift standing there watching.

Last year, I went to the beach and avoided it all. This year, I’ve decided that pink and red are two of my favorite colors, I’ve long used a heart of some sort to sign cards, even in digital signatures, so why shouldn’t I ditch the ghosts of Valentine’s Days past and celebrate love? It’s also a special friend’s birthday, so personally, I’m going to celebrate that and whip up a ton of red velvet brownies with cream cheese icing and take the day as it comes. In fact, I’m going to enjoy the whole, short little month, because February and I are both short and we both look good in pink and red.

Do you struggle with any holidays?

3 thoughts on “Ghosts of Valentines Past

  1. Thank you. I hated the social sorting-hat of Valentine’s in elementary school too. I was embarrassed and sad for the kids who got silently dissed for the whole class to see. I think it was one thing that helped create a bit of a champion for the underdog in me.


  2. Good for you Channon! I struggle with SOME holidays. In Truth i prefer ordinary days. Easter bugs me. Im so thrilled when it is over. We never went away on spring break and we felt out of place. All our friends went to florida or south carolina or even hawaii. We should have appreciated what my father and mom did for us, but we so wanted that TAN!


  3. I was always the odd girl out, and hated every single school holiday. I hated gym, too, incidentally, because I was the very last one chosen for every single thing. Michael always called Valentines Day and the like “Jewish holidays,” because they enrich the Jewish merchants. I suppose that’s less valid today in the era of big box stores, but the sentiment remains. I’ll just hold my breath and get through it, so to speak, because what choice is there?

    Thanksgiving is my holiday. I set it up to be a big, loud, happy feast some 30 years ago, and all of my kids attend virtually every year. Christmas and Easter are hit or miss, but since my kids went to college, I decreed that Easter occurs on Saturday, so everyone can go home early on Sunday. The bunny has begun coming for the grandchildren, so their uncles in particular enjoy that.

    As for the beach, I’ve rented a house at the armpit of Cape Cod for the week before the 4th of July, and I hope all of the kids will show up for at least a couple of days. Jeff and Dan will be with me for the entire week, so that will be nice.


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