My normal, modus operandi is to mock Valentine's Day as a commercial venture ginned up by card companies, chocolatiers, florists, restaurateurs, lingerie manufacturers, jewelers and other assorted retailers in order to yield one big infusion of cash to tide them over until the next big, gift-giving national holiday.
"Why do we need a special holiday to celebrate love?" I'd ask. "Isn't that what your anniversary is for? And the birthdays of the ones you love?"
The Spouse also subscribes to this way of thinking, resentful at being told that he must demonstrate his love and affection by presenting me with something tangible every February 14, something that wasn't picked up at the convenience store on the way home from work.
But, as I seem to be doing a lot lately (see my previous blog entry), I've been rethinking this attitude. What if, instead of resenting the hearts and flowers and chocolates being shoved in my face by the onslaught of Valentine's ads, I embrace the sentiment instead? Hence, I've decided that. like with my refusal to allow stress and pressure to wreck Christmas, I'm not going to permit my rampant cynicism to put the kibosh on February 14. No, I'm not going to go all crazy and spend days baking all things heart-shaped and chocolate. I'm not planning on slaving away to make a grand, gourmet meal. I'm not making candies for all the children the Picket Fence Post kids hang out with (nor am I buying candies for dozens of children either.)
Instead, I'm going to aim for simple. Simple can be good, enjoyable even. I've purchased The Spouse one gift as well as some sweet tokens for the Picket Fence Post kiddos. Whatever we wind up having for dinner on February 14 -- whether it's frozen pizza, pasta or something easy to prepare -- the whole family can eat in the dining room at a candlelit table (we always have candles in the house) with some Sinatra playing in the background. All I'll do is pick up some kind of chocolaty dessert someplace on that day. That will be perfect.
In my new found spirit of mirth, I even picked up a box of Hello Kitty Valentines and will give them out, just because. (Now that the kids no longer have Valentine's Day parties at school where they distribute Valentines to all their classmates, I kind of miss the little Valentines with cartoon characters on them.) Filling them out makes me feel Lorelai Gilmore-esque. With all this cheerful, pro-Valentine's Day spirit, the Picket Fence Post kids and The Spouse will demand to know whether I've been sipping one too many gin and tonics.