It’s February, the month of romance, idyllic evenings in front of the fire, roses and chocolate. And let’s not forget Valentine’s Day. You either love it or you hate it, but it’s almost impossible to ignore.
Many single people try to ignore Valentine’s Day because it’s a reminder that the only valentine they get might just be from Mom.
The weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day are a time of competitive suffering between couples and singles. The former wring their hands about the pressure to have a picture-perfect Valentine’s Day plan, while the singles bemoan the dearth of romantic prospects in their life.
Couples don’t seem to have any choice but to celebrate Valentine’s Day, what with all the publicity it gets in the media. You can’t go anywhere once the Boxing Day sales are over without being inundated with pleas and reminders to do something about this special day. And in trying to avoid the commercialism, the single people feel left out. The pressure is enormous.
Valentine’s Day is difficult, not because it makes love a commodity, but because it presents us with the challenge of looking at the richness, or lack thereof, of our romantic lives. When people say, “I hate Valentine’s Day,” what they often mean is, “I hate being forced to take inventory of the quality and volume of love in my life.”
A memorable Valentine’s Day for me was in 2008. I had landed in Raleigh, N.C., to visit my old flame. He had bought me a plane ticket to come visit him because he had something important to tell me. You guessed it — he proposed, not on bended knee, but with flowers and a wonderful meal, complete with live jazz music playing in the background at a cosy restaurant in Charlotte. How romantic! How original! Our whirlwind engagement fizzled out before year’s end.
I was dreading Valentine’s Day the year of my divorce. Who was left to love me? Would I be forgotten? I was alone, sitting in my rocking chair that long ago morning, when I heard a car drive up to the house. Looking out the window, I saw my friend sneaking away. She had come on her way to work, leaving a card and some chocolate in my mailbox. That small gesture saved my day.
Another Valentine’s Day saw my new husband and I at an upscale restaurant in Windsor, eating the most delectable meal imaginable, complete with wine, chocolate and romance. We decided to dress up for the occasion. He sported a shirt and tie and I had on a skirt outfit, complete with my Max de Carlo boots — the sexy black ones with the red soles and heels so high I could barely make it from the car to the door. That one was unforgettable.
But what if Valentine’s Day was not so much about romance, but about love? When I think of all the people I have loved, they are not all romantic partners. No, some of them are my children, my siblings, friends, parents and a special aunt. Why not acknowledge love for them as well as romantic partners?
Everyone wants to feel special and Valentine’s Day is as good a time as any to brighten someone’s day. When we were young, we bought valentine cards for everyone in our class at school. It felt good and validating to receive them, like a warm fuzzy. We can still do this. There are lots of non-romantic valentine cards available these days. Have a look and maybe you’ll get to thinking about people in your life.
A native of Newfoundland, Christine Faour grows lavender on her hobby farm in Coldbrook. After a lifetime spent teaching, she now spends her time knitting, quilting, making things from lavender and writing about her take on life at anourishedlife.ca. She has one book, Eat Where You Are, a memoir in recipes.