I shouldn’t be a hater. The Husband has never failed to get me a Valentine’s gift. He’s very sweet about it. This year I got a Clay Matthews t-shirt. I have a
major minor obsession with the Packer’s linebacker, and TH got me a shirt to proclaim my love. Now that’s a husband! I certainly haven’t gotten him any Megan Fox t-shirts lately.
As a kid, I loved Valentine’s Day. Making the valentines, getting candy, having a party at school. What wasn’t to love? To make it even better, My grandparents always sent something to us for Valentine’s Day. One year, when I was about 10 years old, my grandpa made me a jewelry hanger out of painted wood. It has has two hearts with a rainbow arched above them. One heart has my name painted on it, and the other heart says ‘Grandpa’. I love that thing, and it hangs in my bedroom to this day.
But as I grew older, the holiday just made me feel lousy. Valentine’s Day reminds me the most of junior high, and reminders of that awkward stage in my life are not welcome in this brain of mine. 7th and 8th grade were awful years. I was so self-conscious, chubby, with bad hair and teeth. I wish I could go back and tell myself that almost everyone looks awkward in junior high, but, being in that adolescent ‘it’s all about me’ phase, I thought I was alone in my misery. At my school, you could pay a dollar to send a lollipop with a personalized note to your sweetie. They were delivered in class, and sure enough, the girls who I was convinced had everything you could dream of, would get one or two lollipops per class period from their admirers. If I ever got one, it was from my best friends. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate them, but let’s face it. It wasn’t the same as getting a lollipop from a BOY.
To make things worse, the school distributed these computer generated match maker lists. Five boys’ names were matched to each girl and sent out to everyone. I’m sure it was a random generator, I don’t recall filling out a Match.com type of survey or anything. But everyone wondered who their ‘perfect matches’ were. If you got a popular boy on your list, you might swoon. If you got the geeky guy from your biology class who offered to dissect your frog for you, you weren’t as impressed. I was convinced that if a boy got matched with me, they either thought, “ew!” or, more likely, “who?” I had some confidence issues back then, you see.
Later on, in high school, we had our Sadie Hawkins dance around Valentine’s Day. This dance was less formal than prom or homecoming, where the girls asked the boys to the dance. I’m ashamed to admit that I never went to a Sadie Hawkins dance in high school, only because I was too much of a chicken shit to ask a guy to go with me. See? I told you I had issues!
I'm happy to report that my kids didn’t inherit these rather pathetic tendencies. Hollywood struts her stuff, and knows that she’s got it going on, but not in a conceited or cocky manner. She just accepts it, and her confidence mixed with just the right amount of humility is charming. She gets that from The Husband, who even as an ancient 42 year old (ha!), accepts without wonder that he still turns the ladies’ heads.
The Boy just recently asked a girl to be his girlfriend. He seems to be the only child of mine who might have some of the insecurities that I was plagued with at his age. Which is why I’m inordinately proud that he overcame them to ask this girl out. They went to a movie this weekend together – with a group of other friends, of course. He’s only 13, after all! He even held her hand. Today he brought a teddy bear and some chocolate to give to his girlfriend at school. Isn’t that sweet? Even sweeter is that as soon as she said she’d go out with him, he called me to tell me that he had a girlfriend, even though I was only out at the grocery store and would be back soon. The fact that he called me to tell me the good news right away made me almost weep. Yeah, I still have issues.
I’ve spent the last 19 Valentine’s Days with The Husband. He’s always given me a gift and told me he loves me. I’m now much more confident in the knowledge that I’m a successful, likable, attractive woman who has a family that I wouldn’t trade for anything. And yet, those memories of feeling lonely and left out are still back there, in the recesses of my mind. Which is why Valentine’s Day will never be my favorite holiday. (That distinction goes to Thanksgiving. Food, family, and football. Ah…).
I hope you have a good one anyway. Happy Valentine’s Day!