Why We Don’t Celebrate Valentine’s Day

And why I’m pretty irritated about it.

It’s quite simple really. Michael and I decided early in our relationship that we would celebrate our love for one another every single day, and refused to participate in a marketing-driven Hallmark-inspired faux-holiday.

You know those early days of a love affair when you think that the feeling your in the midst of could never possibly fade, but only grow brighter? Those days when you want to spend Every. Single. Waking. Moment. Together? To the point where you’re playing hooky at work just to stay in bed with each other a little bit longer. Yea, those days were so sweet and silly and romantic…

And LONG gone, and yet our deal about Valentine’s is still on.

I knew there was some underlying tension between us on Sunday night as Michael grumbled about having to get flowers for his step-mom because his dad is out of town. I mentioned how nice it was going to be for her to get flowers, and that it would be even better if he brought them to her at work. Cause what woman doesn’t like to get flowers at work for all her co-workers to drool over? Immediately after this seemingly harmless exchange the tension was palpable.

Though we made the decision for the two of us not to celebrate it obviously didn’t carry over to Cedella, right? So Leslie (aka New Friend) and I took our girls to this awesome little pie bakery called Sweetie-Licious. It was a Mama/Daughter Pie Date!! We had such a great time, and so much great pie, that it actually felt a bit celebratory.

 Playing in the Sweetie-Licious Kitchen
 Sharing food with Anna
 Mmmmmm…pretzels!
Mmmmmm…pie!
Mmmmmm…table?
 Having a tea party
Sharing a tea cup

But I have to admit a bit of jealousy when we stopped by the flower shop and I knew that I wouldn’t be on the receiving end of any blooms. Or that I wouldn’t be taken on a special fancy date. Or that I had absolutely no reason to shave my legs or wear heels (really I love to dress up and having no reason bums me out).

When we got home I got out the paint so that Monk could make some Valentine’s Day paintings. Maybe I should have confirmed this parenting choice with Michael, but I decided that at the very least we would make a tradition out of making something for one another to celebrate our love, at least on this day, if not as often as we can. So we painted cards for Daddy.

When Michael got home from work, after having delivered the flowers, he was much later and grumpier than usual. We gave him his paintings, which he was not as impressed by as I had hoped. And again I mentioned how nice it was for him to have taken the flowers to my MIL. At this point my second mention became a ‘thing’.

He was immediately defensive and angry. “We decided not to celebrate Valentine’s Day together and now you want to celebrate? WTF?” (Totally paraphrased BTW). He said he would love to buy me flowers and take me out, on any other day than Valentine’s. That’s the problem though. I don’t get flowers or a card any other day, let alone on Valentine’s. The last time he gave me flowers was during our honeymoon. I can count the times we’ve been out just the two of us since Cedella has been born on one hand (that’s less than 5 times in a year folks!).

Now I’m beginning to understand the whole V Day deal. It’s not just about forcing one to buy overpriced boxes of heart shaped candies and red long stem roses. It’s like Thanksgiving or Christmas or Fourth of July. It’s a reason to collectively celebrate, only instead of being thankful or saying Happy Birthday to Jesus or America, we celebrate Love.

For a lot of us married folks, saying we love one another can become so banal. It’s like brushing your teeth or making coffee. You just do it as part of your day. How often do I take the time to tell Michael I love him because he is the Clyde to my Bonnie. How often do I express how much I love the way he makes me laugh. How often does he understand that when I tell him I love him before he leaves to go to work, that I really LOVE him. That I can’t live without him. That he is my other half.

Even if, as a couple, we decide to continue this tradition of not celebrating Valentine’s, I feel the need to insist we celebrate our love, that we talk about our love, that we make our love a priority. That we give cards, flowers and handmade mementos just because. That we take time once a week (or so) to reconnect and spend some quality adult time together. I don’t see how we can maintain our passion for one another without celebrating it.

What do you do to keep the love alive and celebrate one another?

My little Valentine

Comments

  1. Christine says:

    You post is honest and refreshing and even though our lives are at different points, it sort of meshes with mine. I say celebrate Valentine's Day. You don't have to make it a "commercial" holiday (by the way, that's a classic man defense against the holiday, Ali!), but you deserve a day for some high maintenance romance because face it, flowers, etc. are just not "workaday" marriage fodder. Especially when you have a pre-schooler taking center stage in your household. Be sweet to your husband in small ways, write him a note or text him, it will come back to you. You may not be able to manage getting out once a week, but you can probably manage driving out to Grandma's once a month or bimonthly and going out on the town. I'm sure his parents wouldn't mind taking Cedella for the night so you can have a low-maintenance date at home. Just know men usually are famously bad at arranging and organizing this stuff, so you do it, don't whine about doing it and know its worth it!

  2. Kelsey says:

    I love you and I love this post, Ali. It's perfectly put. It's up to you two whether or not you choose to acknowledge the day, but honestly, why not!? You deserve to feel extra special sometimes. You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned you still don't get cards or flowers or go on dates any other days of the year. It's bull…and I'm in the same boat, girlfriend! Make him spoil you on a day that you want to celebrate, but do the same for him because he deserves it just as much!

    Although my life is different than yours at this point, I still find it hard to keep the love alive! I've found that quick texts or post it notes around the house can make one feel special. And sometimes I write a note on our bathroom mirror :) Good luck!

  3. Kate says:

    We aren't great with flowers/cards, but we do share weird little physical moments to reconnect daily.

    We'll occasionally have a normal conversation in what I call 'ear-hole talk mode' where we just tell each other about our mundane day by whispering it in the other person's ear – sometimes in tranny voices – which always results in laughing and on lucky days, ends in making out.

    Every once in awhile, I like to demand 3 or more minutes of uninterrupted eye contact. He thinks it is totally creepy. But it forces us to really see each other – which is hard to do when the day to day craziness takes hold.

    And the last and strangest thing we do started as a joke after I read in an adoption bonding article that you should hold your baby skin on skin – especially against your stomach or chest.
    When He gets home from work or after a fight, we press our stomachs together, skin to skin, while hugging. It sounds deranged, but feels oddly good – and I honestly think it sort of centers us or reconnects us after moments of separation. ps. Chris dies of embarrassment each time I share this detail with others… hehehe… poor guy!

    So that's my advice for people who agree to spend a lifetime together: find your version of quiet silliness.
    I wouldn't trade ours for all the Hallmark cards in the world, even after 12 years and more obstacles than I care to think about.

  4. Alexia says:

    Thank you ladies for all of your wonderful advice! I guess I've just been waiting for Michael to take the lead on this when I should have been more proactive all along.

    @Christine – I think that we are going to try to go out every other week to start and see how we do. The flowers/cards aren't really 'workaday' but they mean romantic attention to me that I'm not getting. We're going to keep trying though…

    @Kelsey – You're the sweetest! It's hard to imagine you and Kyle not being lovey-dovey but I understand that each relationship goes through phases. Glad someone else feels the need for that 'special' treatment! You hear that boys? We want flowers! Lmao ; )

    @Kate – thanks for sharing your methods, even at the risk of Chris's total embarrasment! These are such great ideas! Love the thought of telling each other the most innane daily details by whispering like a tyranny in Mike's ear! That is hysterical! And would probably help us to connect a bit more. Also, the actual physical contact thing – that helps with Cedella all the time. Bet it would do wonders with my Man Child. Love you for the suggestions! Kiss Juniper for me ; )

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