I am a Valentine’s Day Grinch. It was 7th or 8th grade when my heart shriveled to two sizes too small. Before that it was about making cute Valentine boxes with doilies and buying corny tiny cards for everyone in the class. Of course there was always the random girl chasing a boy around the classroom trying for a kiss, but that was really more about cootie tag than kissing.
It was all good until the mind shift of 7th grade where Valentine’s Day suddenly becomes about romance. In 7th grade I had braces (the old horrible kind that wrapped around every tooth so that you really did have enough metal in the mouth to broadcast am radio), glasses and knees that looked like giant orbs attached to toothpicks. Plus, I was just as socially awkward on the inside as I was on the outside. There was no romance headed my way. All Valentine’s Day did was reinforce in the candy box of life, I was not a red hot. I was a gummy worm.
Even once I got a boyfriend, I found the whole thing annoying. The poor guy would break out in a giant slew of zits trying to afford dinner, flowers and candy. It isn’t even most of us women who demand that much, it is the pressure of not measuring up to what men think is expected. Marketing has done a better job than any female has ever been able to do in creating Valentine’s Day guilt. Come on housekeepers of America, Unite! Get every average Joe out there thinking they are lacking in the rugged provider department if they do not have a house keeper come at least one a month. Use Valentine’s Day as a case study. I am sure you will up business by 70%.
With this in mind, you will understand that Friday I stood on Mt. Crumpit expecting to feel nauseous from all the hearts and the red and the sugar coated sappy love of the day. Instead I woke up to a pleasant family, not to sweet, not too grumpy, just right.. John took the kids to school (a most wonderful luxurious gift), my friend Nicole invited me over and bought me coffee and my favorite kind of bagel. The Valentine’s Day parties at the school were relaxed and Helen came into Lauren’s classroom where she plopped on my lap, Lauren tucked herself into my arm on the left and we watched part of a Care Bear movie. I sat there very still as my cold black Valentine’s heart started to unshrivel. Maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t all phoney, maybe just maybe it is a little bit more.
This point was driven home at the Girl Scout meeting, Adriane convinced me to have some of our parents who are in the health care industry help the girls earn their First Aid badge. I was lazy and just wanted to go to the park and let them play. Wow. I am so glad I didn’t push my agenda. This was one of our best meetings ever.
“Girls, today is Valentine’s Day and part of love is caring for yourself and caring for others. Today we are going to learn several things we can do when someone we love is hurt or sick.“ Adriane said more, I wish I could remember exactly because it was perfect. The nurses who worked with the girls kept them completely engaged for the entire meeting and over. That was without snacks or anything (end of day pizza and cupcake party, we had stuffed little girl scouts). Their generosity in spending time with the girls was the best Valentine’s gift I could have asked for…….or so I thought.
As almost everyone who knows me knows, we have been in the middle of GS cookie sale time. This is not my favorite thing about girl scouts. The above bits where girls learn interesting valuable things from interesting valuable people, that is what I love. I do not like asking people to buy cookies. I hate feeling like a pest.
Anyway, we are getting close to wrapping up but we had not gotten any donations to the charity we had selected, a family shelter in McKinney. I broke down and sent a message to three people I thought might be able to steer me in the right direction. I got in my car after the meeting and there were 3 bubbles on my phone. All three donated a case of cookies each to the shelter. I just wanted to cry. It was the nicest thing. I have not seen these three ladies in so long, but I send them a note and like the Three Musketeers, they come to my rescue.
The day was topped off by my Brother and Sister in law and their four kids coming in from Baton Rouge and bringing Rudy’s for dinner. Happy kids. Happy parents. Happy bellies.
Maybe it is just coincidence that so many fantastic moments were shoved into one Valentine’s Day. Maybe it was time for me to get over my grudge. Whatever it was, I realized that Valentine’s Day is no longer taunting me. It is a big red, white and pink chocolate covered beacon telling me to pay attention to love; all love, because life is better when it is stuck to everything.