Monday, February 14, 2011

It's Only a Holiday

I have a love hate relationship with Valentine's Day. I used to celebrate it with zeal. I used to think it was so fun.
When I was in elementary school I would save the best Valentine cards for the the kids I liked the best. I only really remember one boy named Jamie that I liked. I went through all my little cards and choose the very best one for him.
In my memory my family didn't really "celebrate" Valentine's Day with something special. Sometimes we would deliver Valentines to our friends door steps, ring the door bell and run away. That was fun, I remember hoping that our door bell would ring, it did sometimes. I don't think this is a tradition for kids anymore, kinda sad I think.
When I was first married, I was a cake decorator at the local grocery store, where we lived. I worked every Valentine's Day, all day, very, very, long hours, making wedding cakes, and other special orders for the love struck of the community. Any idea how much food coloring it takes to make the correct color of red??? My hands were always stained red for days.
When I was in college, the guy I was dating, picked Valentine's Day to kiss me for the first time. He later became my husband. We sort of used Valentine's Day as an anniversary of sorts. We got engaged on Valentine's Day. (there might be a separate post about that, for levity's sake...) We celebrated that day with gifts, I even bought him a motorcycle one year. He loved it and we both rode it for fun and necessity. We are divorced.
I'm not sure how to feel about Valentine's Day now. Do I just stop remembering? Do I ignore it? Do I celebrate it in spite of the ambiguity I feel for it? Should I just make it though the day as I have for many years now?
I have someone new to love and I do love him with all I am, I know he loves equally as much. I have 5 children that I love with all my heart. I have 8 siblings, and their spouses and their kids that I love. I have parents that I love. I have extended family that I love. So is Valentine's Day about who I love, or about the experiences of love? Is it about tangible gifts or gifts of the heart? Is it a day that we must express love, or celebrate love, or fall in love?
For me when Valentine's Day approaches, I of course remember the past. I remember the dread of working so long, and so hard, and how red and stained my hands were. I also remember looking to a future. Of course then I never anticipated the bumpy, winding, curving, nauseating road to the present. I never thought about the joys and heartaches that come from the experience of loving. I never thought that as I worked long and hard to please everyone in my world, that I would crumble and break, and how I would scar. Deep red scars that are permanent, but gratefully have begun to fade over time.
So I have a relationship with a holiday, I love it, and I mostly hate it. It is what it is, a Holiday, now what?