I walked into the grocery store and it hit me. In front of me was a sea of red, white and pink. It had been growing slowly since Christmas. Up until recently it had been barely noticeable. Now there was no denying what was just around the corner. Valentine’s Day, or as my children lovingly call it, “Singles Awareness Day” (S.A.D. for short) was upon us. As funny as that acronym is, it is reality for many on this day that is supposed to represent love. Even from an early age I could see that it was more about the “haves” and “have-nots” more than anything else. In elementary school we worked hard decorating the bags that would become the resting place for the cards and lollipops we would receive that day. Back then there was no rule about having 1 for every kid in the class. We gave them only to those we liked. Inevitably, the time of reckoning would come when we would dump our bags onto our desks and count how many we had. Those who were liked had many. Those who were not had few. I can see why the rule was changed. I can’t imagine anything more humiliating to a 6 or 7 year old than for his or her entire class to see that they were “unloved”.
Now let’s fast forward to the present. Even as adults we struggle with the day. If you are a “have” there is the giving and receiving of roses, cards and candy in heart-shaped boxes. For the “have-nots” it is the fear of someone noticing that they have given or received none. Even between couples there is the big question: “So what are you doing for Valentine’s day?” In that moment many of us can return quickly to those days in elementary school. We think, ‘what if what we are doing doesn’t measure up? Will we be looked down upon because we are not going to some overpriced restaurant for dinner and dancing?
So who is this Saint Valentine who has us all in an uproar? I had no idea so off I went to surf the web. Come to find out there was more than one. It appears the one the holiday was named for was a Roman priest who was put to death on February 14th for secretly marrying Christian couples after the marriages were banned by the Roman emperor Claudius II. So if history is correct, he stood for what he believed in and was martyred for it. That is love. So how did it become about cards, roses, candy and “one-up-man-ship”? The question is rhetorical.
Let’s get back to basics. When things were financially difficult for Steve and me, he would tell me to close my eyes and imagine a beautiful bouquet of red roses. When I said I could see them, he would tell me that those were from him. With creative ideas like that and the development of free e-cards, we have the ability to let those we love know just how much they mean to us and not break the bank. Honestly the imaginary roses he used to send are dearer to me than all the real ones (not to minimize them) he has sent since. My imaginary roses never die. Think of a creative way you can let someone know you care for them tomorrow. The key here is not to spend anything for this particular gift. It will make them feel good and you even better.