Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, let’s talk about love. When I was a small child, no older than four or five, I have a clear and vivid memory of standing in line at the pharmacy counter of our local drug store. I looked to my right expecting to find candy bars and gum but instead, I found small boxes that had silhouetted couples walking hand in hand bearing the slogan “for feeling the love.” Being the precocious and curious child I was, I asked my mother if we needed those little boxes to feel love. This was one of those rare and wondrous occasions when my smart-mouthed mother had very little response. As fate would have it, right after I asked my question it was our turn at the cash register. We moved past the strange love boxes and I was enchanted by other things. But, I distinctly heard my mother tell the pharmacist, “You really need to put those things behind the counter and away from kids.”
As an adult, the thing that stands out most to me about that memory was not my very valid childlike question or my mother’s dumbfounded response but why we would need anything tangible to feel love. I think that’s what I was really asking but I had no way to articulate that at the tender age of four or five. I don’t think I could really wrap my brain around the idea that to feel love I needed to buy something from a store. I mean, didn’t I feel love for my mother and other family members without having to buy anything? Wasn’t it a feeling deep down and not a tangible thing? As an adult that is easy to answer but as a little kid not so much.
I think that’s one of the reasons why I don’t like or really celebrate Valentine’s Day. I think it’s silly to say one day out of the year we are going to profess our love. If you think about it that way it’s a pretty shitty holiday. I mean who only wants to hear I love you or You’re appreciated only once a year? I sure don’t and a damn $10 box of chocolates once a year is not going to make me like that idea. A lot of people I know think I’m pretty curmudgeonly for this opinion. That’s okay. They are entitled to their opinions. Personally, I’d much rather have flowers picked from the yard on a random day than a dozen roses delivered to my door on a prescribed day. I would much rather have a fancy meal or fancy chocolate for no apparent reason than some set aside made-up holiday where everyone is getting something very similar to what I just received. It doesn’t feel special on Valentines Day. It feels rehearsed and expected. I’d rather have unrehearsed and thoughtful.
This year on Valentines Day I will be carting kids to extracurriculars and eating leftovers. I know I am loved. I don’t need a card or a box with silhouetted couples walking hand and hand to feel that love.
Photo Credit: Free photo lifted off the internet but don’t you like how it’s a picture of balloons and my story was all about condoms? Sometimes the Universe really smiles on us.