Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Haters and Other Cynics

My mother loved holidays. She loved them so much that every holiday in our home was decorated in the particular theme with ornaments and knick-knacks that she purchased and collected over the years. It didn't matter if it was a big holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving, or a minor holiday like St. Patrick's Day or Lincoln's Birthday, she had decorations for it. Her two favorite holidays were Christmas and Valentine's Day. In our home, Valentine's Day sentiments weren't reserved for one's sweetheart. As with all our holidays, it was a time to celebrate family ties and the affection we had for one another. I can remember looking forward to going down stairs to the kitchen breakfast table and always finding a small heart-shaped box of chocolates from my dad, a card and a stuffed animal or sometimes even a pretty piece of jewelry from my mother, and beautiful cards with loving sentiments from my brother (when we both grew old enough to purchase and exchange greeting cards). Because this day was always so family-centered for us, I never thought of it as an exclusive holiday for lovers. Being someone's "Valentine", meant that you cared about them be they a family member, friend, or a love interest. It wasn't until after I got married that I realized that not everyone thought of Valentine's Day in the same "universal love" terms as I did. I'll never forget the year that my husband fussed at me over how much I spent at the Hallmark store on cards for my family and friends, as well as on the postage to mail all of them. I was cut to the quick over his chastisement and I didn't understand why $25 and much less than that on some postage made such a huge dent in our budget, especially when I was expressing to my family and friends how much they were loved and missed. He didn't see it that way. To him, Valentine's Day was a day you got your sweetheart candy and flowers and perhaps took her out to dinner--if you could afford it. (It's probably not a surprise that my first marriage ended in divorce after 18 years.)

When I was nearly 40 years old, I met the love of my life and it altered my view of Valentine's Day considerably. Suddenly I was thrust into Cupid's realm of hearts and flowers, kisses, singing birds, and more romance than I had ever known. I was so in love and so overjoyed that I wanted to shout it to the world. Valentine's Day suddenly became one of my favorite holidays and I was unreserved with my online public displays of adoration and affection for my partner, until Facebook. It wasn't until I joined Facebook in 2007 that I learned that celebrating Valentine's Day was politically incorrect, and those who didn't know this, and
who posted sentimental sayings and public displays of affection, or even general sentiments directed towards friends and family were deemed insensitive to those who didn't have anyone to love or who were loved by no one. I was surprised by the number of statuses from my "friends" expressing their disdain for the holiday as well as the cynical memes from atheist sites that explained the dubious origins of St. Valentine's Day. I began to question whether or not I truly was insensitive when I posted my enthusiastic sentiments for not only my love, but for my children and friends. So the next year when February 14th approached, I hesitated to say much about it and for several years I "overlooked" the holiday so I wouldn't be deemed a jerk by my Facebook friends.

 In the seven years that I have been on Facebook, it has probably taken me five years to come to the conclusion that there are entirely too many cynics and haters out there and that every last one of them are only too happy to drag you down into the mire with them. Cynicism is a spirit killer. It rejoices in gloom and doom and points it's angry, accusing, crooked finger at anyone and everyone who would let the smallest
glimmer of hope, happiness, joy, or love, into it's myopic, narcissistic existence. I finally unfriended most of the cynics on my list and the rest, I've hidden. I love Valentine's Day, and I love having a special day on the calendar to express that love (although I don't need a special day to do so), to my friends, family, and most especially to my dearest Steph. And most of all, I love the smile on each of their faces when I tell them that I love them on Valentine's Day. Thank you, Mother, for instilling in me an appreciation for the things that matter most, most especially for the genuine expression of love on the special days that we have set aside to do just that.


  1. Cynicism is just sour grapes--jealousy and envy. There's a good reason why the cynics are lonely--no one wants to be with people like that. Don't let small hearts make you hesitate in spreading the immense love you hold for those us of who are blessed by having you in our lives. Let that light shine!


  2. I never paid attention to V Day until I had a niece and nephews. Now I give them chocolate and get cute cards and lollipops in return. It's a good holiday that can mean a lot of things. :)

    1. It really is. Any day that is set aside to express one's love for another is a good day.