I was born a romantic at heart, and Valentine’s Day was the perfect holiday to fulfill my fantasies. In school we decorated cigar boxes with pink paper and lacy white paper doilies, in anticipation of the cards we would receive. We carefully picked out our cards and sorted through them for just the right one to give to each classmate. Of course, there was always the horror of giving one that was a little too “lovey” to a boy who didn’t return our feelings. Our mothers baked cupcakes and cookies with pink and white icing for our class party, and we opened our boxes and looked at all of the cards. The teachers were careful to be sure that no one was left out — we were required to give one Valentine to each person in the class. Sixty years later I can still remember the excitement and almost taste the party cupcakes and tiny candy hearts.
Those were innocent days; this year my romantic heart almost forgot that Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. I am still reeling and a bit in shock from the election and inauguration of our new President, and becoming used to the uncertainty of the course our country will take. I feel as if I am moving slowly through each day — completing all of my tasks, but not really completely “here.” Alas, the holiday is almost upon us, and I am attempting to join in the anticipation of this most romantic holiday. Today I searched for some little Valentine gifts for my grandchildren — the loves of my life — always a pleasant chore.
However, if I am honest, as I look back over the years, the very best Valentine’s Days were those of my childhood, when my dreams were of being swept away by true love and living happily ever after. Of course, we all know that is the stuff of fairy tales. In reality, my romantic heart has been broken many times over, and my older self realizes that this holiday brings the pain of loss to many people. There are those who will celebrate with champagne and roses, and quiet little dinners with their beloved, but there are also many who will be alone on this special day, having lost their loved ones or never found love, or who will be deliberately not celebrating this day of love, because their years together have left no reason to celebrate.
Somehow, though, when this holiday rolls around each year, a small part of me still holds on to that long-ago dream. I picture a cozy table for two, with a white lace tablecloth, roses and lovely china, good wine, delicious food, and a face gazing lovingly into my own. We romantics just never give up on the dream, I guess. Through disappointments and heartbreak, we never stop believing that something wonderful will happen.
May something wonderful happen to you this Valentine’s Day!!!