“I don’t even like everyone in my class, why do I have to give them friendship cards?”
This question came from Biz, my 7-year-old, who was very blunt with me about not wanting to hand out Valentine’s Day cards at school.
On Friday, I referenced Valentine’s Day as being “icky and contrived.”
My first feelings of icky and contrived came from handing out those cards to people I really didn’t care a whole lot about on a day that’s supposed to celebrate love.
The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, I suppose.
The truth is that I’ve never really seen the point of celebrating Valentine’s Day. I used to feel uncomfortable receiving all those cheesy little store bought cards with everyone’s name scribbled on them in school.
Everyone had to make out individual cards for every classmate so no one felt left out. If you were lucky, some of those cards would also have small pieces of candy stuck to them. (That wasn’t so bad, actually.)
Back then, we at least still called it Valentine’s Day. These days, elementary schools often hand out “friendships cards” on “friendship day,” the school’s response to kids not being old enough to truly understand or express love.
If you ask me, most adults don’t truly understand or express love. They get stuck in the notion of romantic love and the exclusivity of who deserves that love.
My ex-husband and I weren’t big on Valentine’s Day. We figured if we were a committed couple, we should show our love for each other every day. We’d go out every now and then and do little things, but overall it wasn’t a meaningful holiday for us.
The only Valentine’s Day gift I truly remember between me and my ex-husband was the first one I purchased for him when we started dating more than 20 years ago.
Last I knew, that teddy bear is still kicking around my ex’s house.
The funny thing is that the last date between me and my husband was on Valentine’s Day two years ago. It was awkward. And icky. And contrived. For reasons that I won’t get into here.
Maybe funny isn’t the word. Maybe it was apropos? A fake date on a fake holiday around a fake concept of love. We officially split not long after that “date.”
I’ve been single and happy ever since.
When I write stuff like that I wonder how many people just assume that I am bitter. That’s always the excuse when a single person questions the validity of Valentine’s Day, right?
But, like I’ve said before, I’ve never had more love in my life.
While my boys were with their dad and his new wife this weekend, I went on my own Valentine’s Day “dates.” Several actually. Some with large groups of people, some with just a couple and some with just myself.
Not once did I feel bad for myself for being single this weekend. I turned down someone for drinks and went out with friends who at the end of the night I hugged, kissed and expressed my love for them. And I meant it. I saw two good movies. I sang. I danced. I ate good food in good company. I worked out in sub-zero temperatures and enjoyed every minute of it. I laughed. A lot.
I don’t believe in the notion that I need someone to complete me, nor do I believe we have one true love or soul mate in our lives.
The mere presence of an old Valentine’s Day teddy bear is symbolic of a past love that was once quite beautiful.
It might sound vain, but right now I’m in love with myself.
Whether you are single, married, in a committed relationship or otherwise doesn’t really matter. If you have true love in your life, you will be happy.