I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a bit silly for Valentine’s Day. Discovering that someone has sent me a Valentine makes me feel as excited as an eight-year-old with a decorated paper bag taped to the back of her classroom chair.
Valentine’s Day used to be a day of intense pressure for me. When I was a teenager, I was ridiculously romantic. And teenage boys are generally among the least romantic people on the planet. Even as I got older, I felt dejected on Valentine’s Day if I didn’t have a boyfriend to celebrate with. Then I got married. Again, the idea of Valentine’s Day set up expectations in my head. Or maybe it was the flower and candy and card lobbies. Funny how, as a woman, I expected the man in my life to blow me away with romance. Talk about pressure! I’m sure I was radiating it. My sweet husband used to bring me flowers, and occasionally chocolate for Valentine’s Day. But the cats always ate the flowers and vomited on the rugs. And I ate way too much chocolate when I needed to be shedding December pounds. This year we went out for a special lunch (Tuesday), and are exchanging cards. (I won’t have to feel guilty about not eating a card!) Having a Valentine’s Day plan that we happily agree on means zero pressure. We both like zero pressure.
My sweetest Valentine’s Day happened when I was in sixth grade. I was attending a new school, and hadn’t yet made many friends. Our class exchanged silly Valentines, all the while pretending we were too cool for them. And then I went home and Valentine’s Day was pretty much over. Except…After dinner there was a knock on our door, and I could see a car’s headlights parked in front of our townhouse. We didn’t get evening visitors, so it was an event. My mom answered the door, but it was for me.
A boy I’ll call Scott (not his real name) came inside carrying a box of candy. Scott was from my class, but I didn’t know him very well. He was cute, with dark red hair and tons of freckles. We stood, awkward, in my living room. I was beyond surprised, and had had no idea that he liked me in that way sixth grade boys like sixth grade girls. He couldn’t sit down because we could both see those headlights through the curtains. Not only did he bring me candy, but also a necklace with a small heart pendant that had a keyhole cut into it, and the word LOVE beside a sparkly stone beside it. I was probably too stunned to be gracious–and what does a twelve year-old-girl know about gracious, anyway? We were too rushed for chit chat, and I was embarrassed that my family could hear everything we said. I remember saying thank you. Then he was gone.
I wore the necklace, and we started hanging out together with a few other boy-girl couples in the class. It would be a stretch to say we dated. Perhaps we kissed, but I honestly don’t remember. I remember feeling confused and a little pressured because I felt obligated because of the gifts. (I did learn that his mother had picked out the necklace!) But perhaps that’s the adult me thinking. Scott never pressured me or treated me unkindly in any way. My hormones had already begun to rage, so confused was my semi-permanent state.
The memory remains one of my sweetest ones.
What’s your sweetest Valentine’s Day memory? Do tell!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
PS–Comment today (Valentine’s Day) for a chance to receive your choice of the brand new Trouble the black cat detective anthology, The Trouble With Cupid (ebook only), or a copy of Small Town Trouble!