About a month ago, I told my man I was "not a Valentine's girl." I insisted no gifts and assured him we could stay home and order pizza. I did not care about Valentine's Day and I meant it.
Yesterday I changed my mind. A little.
I glanced at the calendar and noticed Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday night this year. I quickly ran through the evening in my mind.
I drop my kids off with my ex in the late afternoon, which even a few years into this routine, still makes me blue. I take my mopey self home, tidy up and at 7:00 p.m. my guy gets home from work.
"What do you want to do tonight?"
"I don't care."
"Want to stay in or go out?"
"Let's go out."
We walk to our usual spots and can't get a table. Because it's Valentine's Day and everyone but us has made a reservation. I know I said I didn't care, but when faced with all the people who did make plans, those who put forth some effort, I start to feel a trickle of bitterness rising in my throat. I glare at my man and in that moment I blame him for following the order I gave of a "no Valentine's Day" Valentine's Day.
In my defense, I have not celebrated Valentine's Day in years because we (my ex and I) were not "Valentine's people."
But as I started thinking, I remembered that we were Valentine's people before we weren't. Years 1-10 we certainly were Valentine's people. Homemade cards, silly gifts, extra love. By year 10 and then 11, 12, 13 and 14, we were not feeling the love and certainly the day of love was nothing but a slap in the face that came around once a year.
I fooled myself by repeating, "I don't want attention because a calendar forced it." Yes, and no. I would prefer to receive love and attention on any day other than Valentines Day. But, that doesn't mean that on February 14th I wont enjoy it too.
To be totally honest, as things went from eh to meh, from bad to breaking bad, I had no choice but to pretend I didn't care. I remember telling myself one mid January night, post marital argument, "If I just stay quiet for the next three weeks maybe we won't fight and when Valentine's Day comes, it won't feel so bad." My solution to a harmonious Valentine's Day was a vow of silence for three weeks. Ugh.
The fact is, I love a holiday. We decorate our home, carve pumpkins and dress up at Halloween. My kids cover all our windows with festive holiday scenes throughout December. I get hats and horns for New Years Eve, cheesy red white and blue sunglasses for the Fourth of July and I love hosting Thanksgiving. Admittedly, Valentine's Day is different. While it has a real history, it's now arguably a commercialized holiday, and one that can make singles feel crappy for no reason. So, do I really want in on this?
Truthfully, I don't view Valentine's Day as a holiday for those adults in romantic relationships. It can be between a mom and her young kids, a dad sending his 20-something daughter some flowers or a woman sending her best friend a funny card. This year, even as I said I didn't want to celebrate, I still ordered personalized M&Ms and customized heart shaped pillows for my kids. I had already, unwittingly, decided to partake in the day of extra love, commercialization included. It's possible, likely probable, that next year I'll roll my eyes, deem Valentine's Day ridiculous and be shocked I embraced it. But the fact is, I do want a little effort, a little extra love. I want this all the time, including February 14th, 2015.
Following this tedious dose of self-reflection and realization there was nothing left to do but call my man and let him know what I knew in my heart of of hearts. That I know what I said, but, while I do prefer flowers on a random day, hate roses, don't like heart shaped boxes of chocolates and am way past the sell-by date of purchasing silk boxers, this year, I do want in on the celebration. I still don't want a gift and I am ok with pizza at home. If it's a plan and not a default because we didn't care to make a plan. Bottom line, I'm still not sure I'm a Valentine's girl. But I am sure that I am not 100 percent not one either.
Being in a mature adult relationship means figuring out what you want and being honest about it. No pretending. Even if that means hearing "But you said..." and even if it means saying "I know what I said. I'm sorry, I changed my mind."
He took it well. And, when I got home today, on a random day in February, there were flowers waiting.