Valentine's Day Expectations

I've read several posts already this week about the indignity of Valentine's Day. Friends on Facebook have been posting about how much they despise the holiday for weeks. Tertia writes about how Valentine's Day is for Losers. And while I know many of them are just writing in jest -- or in hopes that their significant other will bring home, flowers, candy, and jewels, I have to admit that all of the Valentine's Day haters get under my skin. And honestly, I think a lot the hatred surrounding this holiday has to do with skewed expectations.

Last year, on Valentine's Day, I wrote about our anniversary and our engagement because we are one of those strange couples who were married on the day each year that Hallmark makes enough from heart shaped cards to pay the electric bill in all of their stores for the year. If you read those posts, you'll see we weren't married on Valentine's Day because I'm a hopeless romantic (far from it) but my best laid plans fell through.

And the fact is, I like Valentine's Day. I still remember how excited I was in second grade about Valentine's Day! So excited that I made myself sick and didn't get to go to school. I was so upset! I loved exchanging Valentine's at school and the ice cream cone cupcakes with pink frosting and sprinkles that were always on the treat table. I loved the boxes of chocolate candy, the conversation hearts (especially the white ones), and story of cupid.

I remember in 6th grade, I brought my 'boyfriend' a box of chocolates. I was too afraid to give them to him, so instead they sat in the bottom of my locker for the rest of the year. He did give me a very cute teddy bear and a necklace with a heart. Eventually, after the "big break-up" my friends (we called ourselves the J-4's -- Jenny, Jordan, Jenny, and Jamie... cool huh? We were total nerds.) and I painted the necklace with nail polish and lit it on fire in my room. We also cut the bear to shreds with pinking shears and incinerated him in the trash can as well. (Sorry, Mom!)

My first "love" had his mom buy me a Valentine's gift. It was this ugly tree stump vase with an equally horrendous bear and carnations. Even worse? She sent it to my house, instead of to school! What good would the flowers do if no one knew I received them??? ;) My mom called him "stumpy" after that...

Mike and I went away together for the first time over Valentine's weekend. I was student teaching and Mike was working in Champaign when we first started dating. I was pulled over twice on my way to Mike's house that Friday afternoon. The second time I actually received a ticket. We stayed at a hotel in Indianapolis and planned to go out for a fancy dinner. After shopping and exploring downtown Indy we decided we just weren't up for a fancy dinner. Instead, we went to a place called GameStop and played video games (especially Chips Away!) for hours, followed by Ben and Jerry's ice cream, and ordering a pizza in our hotel room. Romantic? Probably not by most people's definition. But for us, it was perfect.

My point of all of these random stories of Valentine's past? I think that many people hate Valentine's Day because they have expectations that are unrealistic and insane. They expect for cupid to shoot his arrow at just the right time so they fall in love on February 14. Others think that they should be eating a fancy dinner, wearing a red dress, and watching the Empire State Building light up with a heart, like in Sleepless in Seattle.

The fact is, real life isn't like that. Sometimes you're too sick to go to school and have the infamous ice cream cone cupcake. Sometimes the gift from the guy you thought was "the one" is torched during a candlelight vigil. Other times, the perfect dinner doesn't involve wine and calamari, but simply a pizza eaten in a hotel bed... and a speeding ticket.

What are your plans for Valentine's Day this year? What do you expect from your significant other or lack thereof? When you wake up on February 15 will you be happy to see another Valentine's Day complete, or still upset because your expectations weren't met?

Jamie is the author of Sticky Feet (Part Deux) where she discusses parenting, pregnancy, infertility, baking, writes product reviews, hosts giveaways, and mentions whatever is on her mind. 

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