For some reason, I’m not quite into Valentine’s Day as much this year as in year’s past. And it’s not because it’s one of the most over-commercialized holidays where big black buckets of fragrance-free roses become a tripping hazard at every store entrance. Nor is it because I get queasy at the thought of the sickeningly sweet chocolates waiting inside those garish red and pink heart-shaped boxes lining the aisles. And, as some like to lament, it’s not because I subscribe to the “I don’t need a special day of the year to tell me to tell someone I love them” philosophy.
Actually, I get annoyed with complaints that the holidays are just “big business.” Of course they are! “Lighten up!” I want to say. This is not the time to make a moral point at the expense of your sweetheart’s feelings. Besides, an estimated 85% of the one billion valentines sent each year are from—not to—women! Someone out there clearly needs a reminder to make it a “Hallmark moment.”
Perhaps the reason I’m not so enthusiastic this year is that I just feel content. Not to say that I don’t want a card, mind you, or to forgo any kind of recognition at all. It’s just that I don’t require the usual floral delivery fanfare. You see, The Boyfriend has learned that birthdays and Valentine’s without flower deliveries can lead to a “discussion” that is simply not worth NOT calling the little wing-heeled running man for. But this year, whether it’s the economy or my mood—or maybe a bit of both—I’m feeling more reserved.
“I’ve been meaning to tell you!” I interject into one of our evening conversations. “I don’t need flowers for Valentine’s Day this year.” (I may feel differently next year of course, so I don’t want to rule future deliveries out.)
“Really?” he asks in surprise with a hint of Is this a test? in his voice. “I was already deciding which arrangement to get.” Bonus points noted.
“No, really. It feels sort of cheesy for some reason. Just not necessary.” I appreciate the fact that he refrains some saying that’s because it is and it isn’t.
It’s a given that we’ll send each other a Valentine’s Day card, though. I love to pick out cards—and presents—for other people. I always thought this was because I’m so thoughtful, but The Boyfriend says it’s because I like to shop. I have to admit, the possibility that he’s right, gives me pause. But not for too long. I decide to buy not one, but three cards. Two for his kids as well.
I start with his son, Little Boy Tuesday. Not his real name, of course, but when I mentioned needing a pseudonym for him, he piped up in his teenage boy humor sort of way, “I’ll be ‘Little Boy Tuesday!'” Little Boy Tuesday is active in high school Robotics and don’t you know, I find a holograph robot valentine that says, “Hope you’re getting geared up for Valentine’s Day!” I don’t look at the price printed in tiny numbers on the back because I know the special effects will cost extra.
Next I look for a card for April–also not her name, but she never made a claim to fame, so April it is. Sadly, April and her boyfriend just broke up. I know she is in need of some extra love this Valentine’s. And there it is, a Bella Pilar card featuring a watercolor image of a girl in a pastel glittery gown covered in candy conversation hearts that say things like “You’re Sweet,” “So Nice,” and “Cutie Pie.” Sparkles and lots of pink. Perfect.
Moving on to my long-time honey, who will always be referred to as “The Boyfriend,” I can’t resist the Michelangelo’s David card by Papyrus with its glittery red heart springing from David’s carefully carved package. Afterall, we saw the real David. Together. In Florence. The inside reads, “Have a heart!” Romantic and funny, right? Or maybe I just like looking at David.
I take my carefully selected cards to the register and check out. The grand total? $17.23. For three cards. I could have bought a dozen of those fragrance-free roses or several boxes of sickeningly sweet chocolates. I could have made the cards, instead. But, I didn’t.
I write a simple message in each, address and apply stickers and stamps. Fortunately, I notice the little symbol in the right corner of the The Boyfriend’s card envelope that says, “Extra Postage Required” and slap on another stamp for good measure. Postal disaster avoided. Must be the weight of the springy heart. That’s okay; he’s worth it.
Dropping my red and pink envelopes off at the post office, I duly note that I am doing my statistical part by sending three Valentines to a ratio of receiving one. I hope they bring a smile to the face of their recipients, just as mine did upon opening. The boyfriend did well.
When I tell him he picked the perfect card, he says, “Oh good!” We both know it is hard to find the right card. Not too mushy. Not to corny. And for heaven’s sake, not a crass joke that he thinks is funny and leaves her wishing for sweet nothings. The Boyfriend shares that once he was standing in the Valentine Card section where two other men were also looking for cards. After reading several, one man shook his head in disbelief and mumbled, “Who writes this stuff?!” to which the other replied, “Who buys this stuff?!” We both laugh.
This Valentine’s, I have my card and I have him. What more could a girl want?