The first memory is of days in elementary school where the “day” was so important. You had to receive many valentines on that day to feel worthwhile. I counted and recounted the little valentines I received from friends. I do not remember receiving anything from my family, but I do remember my daddy giving my mama candy.
Throughout high school I always had a boyfriend who gave me special valentines, but no particular one pops up in my memory. I am sure I got candy or cards. That was the thing to do.
Over my adult years I have received so many gifts on Valentine’s Day. (I have lived a long time.) In my early adulthood I received candy, cards, and flowers on occasion. Sometimes I was treated to a special dinner. But the gifts that are the truly great ones I remember vividly.
There was a very charming man in my life, who impressed the people around me as much as he did me with his gifts on Valentine’s Day. The first Valentine’s Day I received from him (at work) was a singing quartet that sang several loves songs, gave me a huge heart-shaped box of candy, and gave me a bouquet of one dozen red roses. I was speechless, and all the men in my office wanted to know how this man knew how to do this. The women were all angry, not with me, but with their husbands even before they got home, because they knew that their gifts would be last minute and never measure up to mine that day. From then on, everyone was waiting on Valentine’s Day for the “results” of my day.
I married this charming man and Valentine’s Day became such an event. The first celebration after our marriage involved a special dinner (ordered from Martha Stewart) that arrived with special detailed instructions for the man cooking the dinner, plus a small heart shaped candle to set the mood. This was not all, however. This charming man had ordered a special French wine (a special blend with my name on the label) to have with dinner.
One year when I got in the car to go to work (with my husband) the interior of the car was covered in rose petals. The unique thing about this is that we left for work at 5AM and he had gone out and done this at some point in the night. The long commute was beautifully scented.
Over the years, I received strawberries, expensive gourmet candy, jewelry, tons of roses (on my 53rd birthday he filled the house with 53 roses), another singing quartet, and so much else. I was with this man for several years and he always wanted to “top” the previous year.
Unfortunately, I am not with this man any longer; he produces all this bounty for another now. I remember all the “fuss” with smiles, but I am glad I am where I am today. If I want a special candy, I will buy it for myself. If I want flowers, I will buy them, also. I can treat myself to a special dinner out. In fact, I can treat myself any way I want on Valentine’s Day. This year I am thinking of Chocolate Strawberries.
My point is that even though there were many “loves” in my life, I am now alone. This happens to many of us as we grow older. Old loves go away either by choice or by dying. We end up alone on that special day for lovers. But being alone on Valentine’s Day should not be viewed as a tragedy; you are with the person who loves you the most – yourself. So treat yourself and enjoy yourself on this “holiday,” as I intend to do. Happy Valentine’s Day from me.