Valentine’s Day

My response to this week’s Daily Post Challenge: What’s Your Valentine’s Day?

Not being American I don’t want to dis the local customs – I’m reluctantly coming around to Halloween after all – but I’m afraid the holiday is more booby-trapped with relationship pit-falls than laced with love.

To be clear, it has nothing to do with having passed my 10 year anniversary  – a day for which there are plenty of cards for sale. In fact if there were more anniversary cards it might take the pressure off V-Day. “I’m so glad you didn’t tear up my number” or “Thank you for meeting my parents I can’t wait to meet yours,” would at least celebrate what you’ve already accomplished without risking it by pushing the envelope on what you hope might “evolve”.

No I love a bandwagon as much, if not more, than the next person. But long before I became one of Bridget Jones’ “Smug Marrieds”, Valentine’s Day seemed like a hastily contrived beta-holiday that someone should have focus tested before it launched. It’s fraught with awkwardness no matter where you are in your relationship.

Single? Do you accept a date or go out on an anti-valentine’s pride-night with your other single friends and end up shout-singing lychee martini infused karaoke to 40 sunken Korean barbecue tables-of-two? Much worse – if you’re newly attached what’s your gift:time ratio? If you think four months warrants a flower and a mixed tape and he’s thought out dinner beyond his part-time-job means, a gift and a moonlit walk around a glittering Sydney Harbour, one of you is in trouble.

But I’m passed all that and it’s all rosy in hindsight. Valentine’s Day could be a sweet reminder of how far we’ve come since then. It could be a bit of fun, sharing in the excitement of others. It really could! But there’s that email from school reminding us that this is even bigger for toddlers and primary schoolers and anyone who doesn’t help their kids make 20 of their nearest and dearest feel special is a party-pooper.

I am now trudging through frozen slush to Michael’s to stand in line for supplies.  Oh it’s for the kids, we say (which is why I’m coming around to Halloween, because it really is For The Kids!) But they’ll only be excited about the craft supplies and the prospect of more cupcakes at school. Ten minutes into it reality will hit even the most dedicated Handwriting Without Tears graduate.

“Dear [name], you are a great friend and I really like your [special talent]. I hope we can have a play date soon. Happy Valentine’s Day, Your friend [R or H’s name in curly colorful cursive]”

Will  become,

Dear [name], hppY valenties dAy. From [R or H].

Shortly after that H will ask me to print it all out on the computer so he can fill in the names and sign it. This year, we’re going up the class list in reverse alphabetical order, to make it fair.

So instead of smiling at burley blokes trying to maintain a swagger while carrying red roses and fluffy bears, my Valentine’s Eve will be spent forcing two house-bound children to get all their homework done quickly so they can stay at the table for even longer so they won’t look like the only ones with curmudgeonly parents.

It’s not the most romantic day on my calendar, but I’m so grateful to have others that are!