I am going to rant a bit today because I must. I am being bothered by things I’m reading online lately about Valentine’s Day. And before you judge me and what I write here, read the rest of the post first. I have a different view on this because of a love story of my own. My rant begins with the Valentine’s Day hate and Valentine’s Day bashing. Understand that I’m against the commercialism that our holidays have turned into. I know how hard it is to go through Valentine’s Day without a sweetheart, and I have nothing against Anti-Valentine’s Day parties and things of that nature. But what I’m reading is pretty much hate for the day. And the people I see speaking up about how happy and excited they are about tomorrow are being attacked for supporting the commercialism or the materialism involved in showing someone how much they care about someone they love. This bothers me.
First, I think it’s important to celebrate things, whether that’s Christmas or Halloween or Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day. The reason is just that. It’s a reason to have fun. We give these days names and dates and we celebrate them every year. Did you know that Valentine’s Day was connected with romantic love and celebrated during Chaucer’s time? It evolved in England during the 18th century to be closer to what we celebrate now. There are legends about St. Valentine and how the day really came about but to be honest, I don’t think that matters. Because the reason that I celebrate Valentine’s Day is to have one more day where I can say “I love you” and have it be extra-special on that day. Maybe some people can’t say that every day and this one day is the only day they feel free to do that. This is one reason why I write poetry.
Before you think that I don’t know what it’s like to not have a sweetheart keep reading. This is my love story. When I was in the 4th grade, my parents moved my sisters and I out this country town. For a very long time I felt like an outsider. I never felt like I truly fit in. This was painfully more significant when I was in junior high. I never had a sweetheart. Boys weren’t interested in me and I didn’t know why. Was I just not pretty enough or just not popular? Was it because I was so shy or was I just not interesting? I still don’t know. Every Valentine’s Day I’d hope for a secret Valentine that never came and I’d be hurt and disappointed like most girls my age. But there was this one Valentine’s Day that made me see how loved I truly was. I don’t remember if it was 7th or 8th grade. It was Valentine’s Day and I knew I wouldn’t get a Valentine. Junior high wasn’t like elementary school. You’re not made to give everyone a valentine in junior high like you are in elementary school. The day crept on and I just knew there would be nothing. I saw girls all over school carrying roses and flowers and boxes of sweets. It was painful and heart-wrenching. I just wanted one boy, one incredble boy to see me, and none did, at least, not that I know of. Then I got into my Home Economics class. And someone walked in from the school office carrying something. It was for me. It was a gift. It was a package of several different pairs of emerald earrings. Emeralds are my birthstone. The earrings weren’t real emeralds but that didn’t matter. Someone loved me. That someone was my mother.
She knew how much Valentine’s Day meant. The rest of that day I walked around school with my head held high because I realized how much she loved me. We didn’t have very much money and while earrings back in the 80’s weren’t overly expensive, they were still a luxury for us. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a rose or candy. I was loved, and loved very much. It was after school that I found out that she had also done the same thing for my sisters. The next year she sent a rose and a card on Valentine’s Day. Those were the only two years that she was able to do it. But it was enough. I didn’t receive another Valentine until my junior year in high school and I had a sweetheart. It didn’t last long but I learned a more important lesson from my mother. Valentine’s Day isn’t about romantic love. It’s about love. Just love. Because loving someone, being loved, and knowing it are so important. I wish more people would focus on that part of Valentine’s Day. I had the best love story because it is the truest love there is, and everything else pales in comparison to it. I’m lucky, and I know it. I had a mother who loved me so much she wanted to make my day special and not let me become bitter it.
Tomorrow I plan on posting a poem I wrote earlier this week in anticipation for Valentine’s Day. It’s definitely for lovers but I wanted to give my own Valentine to everyone. But how I plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day is by making sure my kids know I love them, and that my mom knows how thankful I am for what she did for me all those years ago. I love you, Mom, for loving me and for being my first Valentine.