Okay this is officially the last time I will talk about or refer to Valentine's Day, I swear.
The thing is, I've never even liked Valentine's Day. When I was endlessly and hopelessly single for so many years, I hated it because it high-lighted my lonely, cat-lady status.
And when I found myself in a relationship, it always felt so commercial, so forced, so cheesy. Shouldn't love and "I love you" and some show of affection be part of your daily life with your partner? Why get all pink and red and give roses and dine somewhere with a prixe fix menu just because society tells you to? Isn't every couple different? And what if you aren't feeling especially love-filled on this day, but did the day before or the day after?
But then I got married. And had Sabine.
Kadin, who also usually doesn't appreciate the commercial side of things or like to do what everyone else likes to do or says he should do, surprisingly likes to get his Valentine's Day on. I went along with it for the first few years that we were married. We did things like make and eat dinner by candlelight together at home. He would bring me flowers and I would buy him a cupcake or write something for him. Our V Days (we've had only four together) have always been understated, but never ignored.
But this year, I felt like ignoring the holiday completely because a)Kadin was so romantic, sweet and generous over Christmas that I really didn't want him to buy me anything else. His gifts were personal, thoughtful and abundant and I've been feeling plenty loved by him; b)my birthday is this month and it's a big one. He'll feel enough pressure to do something special in only two weeks.
So the day before Valentine's Day, I sent Kadin a text while he was at work that read "Let's not do any Valentine crap/stuff this year, okay?" He agreed and planned to play basketball on Valentine's Day after work like he does every Tuesday. But when he arrived home that night, he presented Sabine and I with a bunch of lilies and irises as well as my most favorite peanut butter cookies and said, "These are for the ladies in my life."
And for him, Sabine and I had spontaneously made a handcrafted Valentine that displayed abstract crayon scribbles and sparkly heart and star stickers that Sabine lovingly and carefully placed. I spelled out "Happy Valentine's Day" and We love you." Sabine was beside herself with pride and excitement. When Kadin walked through the door she exploded with joy and ran to give him the "picture" she'd made for him. She jumped on him and said, "Happy balentine you, dada!" It was pretty much the sweetest thing I'd ever seen.
That girl loves a holiday. I think she told me she loved me eighty times that day and gave me about a million kisses.
Later that night, I got an email from my sister with an attachment. It was a Valentine that her six year old had made in his kindergarten class for her. It was in the shape of a heart and read: My favorite thing to eat is: wotrmeln (watermelon). My favorite place to visit is dizyneeland (Disneyland). I love my: family. And I love: mama.
She cried when she saw it. So did I. Then I thought about Sabine and Kadin and their sweetness. And I decided that I'm a Valentine grinch--a former Valentine grinch because how can you deny a day where the people you love most express exactly how much they love you because they really, honestly love you for exactly who you are and just because? You can't. Because something this simple and pure and beautiful should never be ignored. I waited for what felt like too long for it. And because anyone can lose something or everything in the blink of an eye, I never know how long I will have it.