I have trouble with Valentine's Day. Odd, when you consider my love for all the other holidays. Growing up, Valentine's Day was the only holiday my father really got into. He bought us special candy, cards, or flowers. This would have been fine except that my treats were always bigger, my cards were always the most sentimental, and one memorable year I was the only one who got flowers. It was the one day he felt free to express his "love", however inappropriate, for me. It did not make my relationship with my mother any easier. I was uncomfortable, and my sisters couldn't help but notice the special treatment. They never knew the reason for it, but it put a strain on all of us.
In college, a boyfriend tried to make me feel special on Valentine's Day one year. By the end of the evening I had broken up with him. The pressure to give and receive, to put my feelings out there on the table, was just too much. I felt claustraphobic and trapped.
I still do not like to go all out for Valentine's Day. Hubby gets me a card, and I get him one, and sometimes there are chocolates (no matter what deep weird issues I have, chocolate is always okay!). This year, I am giving both the Terror's their very own tiny heart shaped box of chocolate. I managed to buy them without feeling sick. I even like the idea of all the hugs and kisses that are coming my way tomorrow morning. I have decorations from day care hanging up. A few years ago, this would have sent me into a spin.
What's the difference? I hate to sound sappy, but it's love. It's true that my husband loves and adores me, and I appreciate all that and more, but as any survivor of child abuse can tell you, sometimes a spousal relationship can be too similar to the past. This year, Valentine's Day is all about my children. I love them, and I am not at all afraid to put it out there, to open up, because I know they will ask nothing of me that I can't give. They see only the innocence and fun in giving paper hearts. They have a view of the world that I have been missing for years, and I think it's time for me to reclaim February 14th as a day of sharing, joy, and love. I deserve the hugs, the kisses, and the mushy declarations, and Iam going to revel in it all.