From the ghost of Valentine’s past

Let us take a stroll down memory lane today.

I have only had two Valentine’s Days that were notable enough for easy recall. In my twenty-some years, many of my Valentine’s Days were spent giving and receiving cheap, mass printed cartoon cards with little heart stickers, cheesy quips and possibly a piece of chocolate, if the parents were feeling generous. Of course, in those days, my love was for everyone, equally, as dictated by my school. Many of you probably experienced the same.

As we grew up and got more entrepreneurial, sucker bouquets and possibly a single solitary balloon were available for sale for at school, purchased from and delivered by the student council. Lucky me, I was actually the one taking orders and doing the delivering. I did it all cheerily but I was always secretly hoping for an admirer of my own. It’s all a bit fuzzy but I think I received only one bouquet in my four years and it was from a girlfriend who may have just been tired of my complaining. I do remember eating every one of the suckers in my five sucker bouquet and trying to suck my teenage angst out them via that sugary vehicle. Sadly, it did not work. That candy really was some sweet torture. It poignantly created a visual display of who was loved and who was not. In hindsight, I’m not sure if  the practice of selling some token for this holiday in schools is healthy, psychologically speaking.

The first memory I have where any traditional Valentine’s activity took place was with my first official “boyfriend”, yes I verbally checked. He was very gentlemanly and did all the preparations with no prompting on my part. I was instructed to come to his apartment that evening and he had dinner all prepared: a simple spread of salad, spaghetti and garlic bread. This was followed by chocolate mousse, wine and a movie. It was pretty tame. We exchanged gifts and had a quiet and cuddly night.

The second memory was with my current beau. We were doing the long distance thing and I was up with him for the weekend. I had the day to prep and get groceries. The menu had been planned two weeks earlier and all the recipes tested. There was a brief moment of panic when I thought his roommate, who also had a long distance girl in town, was also planning on staying in for dinner. They didn’t stay, Whew! When he got home I was already cooking, though later I would find out that I had not started early enough. I timed all the food all wrong. I definitely should have started cooking earlier. The appetizers took 30 min, which felt like forever. Then the salmon was done 30min before the potatoes. It was a bit of a disaster but Mr. Boyfriend was very gracious and took it in stride. We are still doing well so my terrible and disastrous cooking must be charming…. I hope.

This year my parents are coming through town on this special day so we are not planning to do anything special. My parents are not terribly aware of “lesser holidays.” He got his gift early, because I couldn’t carry it in to the house and had to ask for help. We will probably not have a special meal since we are saving up for a vacation at the end of the month. Is this a bad sign? I know that this holiday is a drag for many folks but for those of us in “love” it should be a day/time to celebrate being an “us” and show our appreciation to one another. I worry that my boyfriend and I are slacking on the “love one another” bit and definitely slacking at the “appreciate one another” bit. We are just trying to be practical, but is that a cop out? I could always do something simple and on a budget, but I feel so lazy in this extra long and hard winter we are suffering. Any advice would not go amiss. Please feel free.

Hope everyone of all relationship status has a wonderful day!

PS: I made these cookies and mailed them to Mr. Boyfriend prior to the dinner disaster. This might have helped my case. The icing is just a royal icing and I bought a set of stamps and used red gel dye for the type.

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