Great loves too must be endured.
If I were the type to give my husband a Valentine’s Day card, this would be it, with the caption “Fine, I’ll be your Valentine, but only because you’d bug me if I didn’t. So get off my back.”
For those who voted on our Valentine’s Day photos, we did go with the “You make my heart melt” cards. Everybody got a packet of Fun Dip, too… look, I’m really, really good about reining in sugar and artificial colors about 350 days of the year. But I’m not a monster. Sometimes a kid likes a little Fun Dip, and sometimes Mom likes to say, oh, what the hay, okay.
I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day overall, though, and out of curiosity I went into my archives to see what I had to say in previous years.
If you’ve heard this story before, don’t stop me,
because I’d like to hear it again.
What follows ran on February 14th, 2009, with the above buggy love photo, and really I enjoyed it so much I’m running it again, with some very slight alterations (i.e. spellcheck).
Rather than call it laziness, let’s call it recycled content, yes? Recycling is good.
Every year on this day, I think of how my junior year English teacher pulled me aside at the end of January to tell me that, as extra credit, I could write an essay in the voice of John Donne (“Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee”) about Valentine’s Day.
This conversation worried at the back of my mind for the next two weeks. Why did she want me to do this? I didn’t need extra credit in English, did I? As far as I knew, I was carrying a nearly perfect score in that class. Had I failed to turn something in? Was my GPA plunging without my knowing it?
And why would she give me this assignment? I hated Valentine’s Day (and still do). A day engineered to make the uncoupled feel badly about themselves, a day where those who did have significant others in their lives built up expectations that might or might not be met.
A day that prompts us to buy, baby, buy to prove our love.
Mind, I went to an all-girls high school. All day long, as florists delivered their overpriced bounty, the PA would buzz on and a voice would summon so-and-so to the office to claim their evidence of being loved. It made me ill. That year, and all years, I forbade whoever I was with to buy me anything on Valentine’s Day.
Just treat me well all through the year, that’s all I ask.
So I let the day slide by. I didn’t do the extra credit assignment. And I didn’t need to, I got an A in that class.
Some time later that same teacher and I were talking— she was writing college recommendations for me— and she mentioned she was disappointed that I failed to present the John Donne speech on Valentine’s Day.
“I hate Valentine’s Day,” I told her.
“How do you think John Donne would have felt about Valentine’s Day?” she laughed.
I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
In whining poetry.
Here she was, looking to tap into my sarcastic nature, giving me permission to lampoon the ridiculous romantic customs of my peers, and I totally let that opportunity slip by.
Damn. How did she know me so well?
Anyway, I still really don’t like Valentine’s Day, the showy aspect of the whole thing, the push for commercialized cards (don’t forget to send one for every kid in the class!), the enormous quantity of candy my kids will consume (don’t get me started on red food dye).
Please don’t get me wrong. Yes, I love, and I do try to show it.
I resent being told when and how.
So, celebrating in my own way.
My favorite quotes on love….
I love her and she loves me,
and we hate each other with a wild hatred born of love.
To love abundantly is to live abundantly,
and to love forever is to live forever.
The love we give away is the only love we keep.
A great many people fall in love with or feel attracted to
a person who offers the least possibility of a harmonious union.
-Rudolph Dreikurs (psychologist)
Perfect love means to love the one
through whom one becomes unhappy.
To love is to stop comparing.
Oh, I have loved him too much to feel no hate for him.
We think about sex obsessively except during the act,
when our minds tend to wander.
Love begets love.
This torment is my joy.
Love is not a sad man sitting under a tree,
but a raging sword flashing with blood and fire.
“An Adventure of Don Juan”
The most important things are the hardest to say,
because words diminish them.
I still love these quotes! Let me know your favorite sayings about love & I’ll tuck them in my pocket for next year.
Enjoy your Monday, and your Valentine’s Day too, if you’re into that sort of thing.