Another Valentine’s Day has passed, and with it –the heighted expectations of girlfriends expecting (hoping for?) proposals, overpriced red roses, Godiva chocolates and a fine dining experience.
Valentine’s Day, now more a Hallmark and Kay Jewelry holiday, encourages these clichés and it requires detailed, determined searches and thought to find less-traditional means to express one’s love. My ex husband’s ideas of Valentines included buying me a lawn mower one year – not his finest moment – but he redeemed himself the next year with a good book I curled up to devour.
I wonder how many realize that this holiday had quite a humble beginning with priest Valentine who, against Roman emperor Claudius II’s wishes, married soldiers (whom Claudius felt made better soldiers when single) who had been forbidden by Roman edict to marry. While details remain murky and shrouded in 1800 years of mystery, historians mostly agree that Valentine was beheaded for his troubles. Supposedly, his death fell on February 14, in about 270 A.D.
Another theory suggests that the Christian church moved St. Valentine’s feast day to mid-February in an attempt to “snuff out” the pagan Roman Lupercalia, a fertility festival honoring Faunus and the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
Either way, the holiday certainly has morphed over the years into something ancient Rome wouldn’t recognize (although given any excuse for a party, they’d accept!).
I do like a fragrant bouquet, although I prefer wildflowers to hothouse beauties, and I’m never one to decline a good meal I didn’t cook. This year, however, I couldn’t wait to get home to my two valentines, both waiting with hugs, kisses, and Dr. Seuss.
Perhaps I should title this piece “How I spent (and didn’t spend) my Valentine’s Day, 2011” – not surrounded by rose petals, candle light and smooth jazz. My Boo and I curled up and read, giggled tons, marched – with tambourine and drum – around the downstairs to Toddler Tunes T.V., dined on ravioli casserole (hey, it’s red!) and red velvet cupcakes. We splashed in the bath, cuddled with more books, and he nestled his warm body into my arms, his milky breath in the hollow of my neck filling me with contentment and inexpressible, wondrous love.
My husband and I will catch a movie on the couch – I’ll zonk after 30 minutes, so he’ll awaken me and send me to bed.
I couldn’t imagine a better Valentine’s Day.