As I look at the calendar and realize that Valentine’s Day is this week, I have found myself reminiscing at what this holiday was like for me growing up, and contrasting that to what it is like now. I used to spend the days and nights leading up to Valentine’s Day wondering if that boy would finally profess his love to me, or who would buy me the secret admirer carnations for sale at my school.
This is a Valentine to that girl.
This is what she looked like.
Dear 16 Year Old Lynnette,
Happy Valentine’s Day! I can’t remember this specific Valentine’s Day for you, but I remember this holiday used to be a BIG DEAL for you. There was always excitement that you’d receive a surprise Valentine, or that the current boy of interest would get romantically inspired for the big day.
It often didn’t work out that way. I remember many Valentine’s Days where you pined away, just dreaming of the time in your life where you will have a Valentine, and imagining those days as romantic, with candlelight dinners, chocolate, flowers, and yes, perhaps some jewelry or poetry.
You will have Valentine’s Days where you get sweet sentiments from guys that are just NOT very exciting for you, and there will be a few Valentine’s Days with unrequited efforts, where you will be utterly depressed.
Do you know who your best Valentine of all times will be? Your Mom. There is a woman that remembered you every year, and gave you quite the care packages even when you lived far from home. There was also your Dad, who brought you one red rose every Valentine’s Day, but the fact that you knew you could rely on that one flower each year you lived at home with him is a special memory for you now.
So what are your Valentine’s Days like now that you have that permanent Valentine? Not at all like you imagined. Your Valentine is proud that he isn’t a “sucker for that marketing scam,” and he doesn’t see much of a need for romantic gestures after making that one huge gesture of marrying you. But hey, he’s there, he’s opening a special bottle of wine, and you aren’t going to be lonely.
What is really special about the Valentine’s Days of your future, though, is your kids. Like your daughter, who made you multiple Valentines, and professes her love for you daily. The same girl who last year dressed in a tutu, heart tights, a heart shirt, and 80’s-style pink gloves for the occasion. And then there is your son, who isn’t sure he wants to give away his Transformer Valentines, and covered himself in the Transformer tattoos and heart stickers that came with the Valentines he picked out at the store.
You’re most excited about leading a heart-themed art project in your daughter’s classroom.
The Valentine’s Day of your future is busy, but fun, and not nearly as romantic and dreamy as you imagined, but much more sustainable and real. You will experience the pure joy of being the best Valentine of all time to your own children.
So keep smiling, and rest assured that you’ll have to spend a lot less time on your hair in the future, and know that the dress you’re wearing in that picture will be the last hand-sewn dress your Mom will make for you because you will complain about it too loudly. You should just bite your tongue and realize what a treasure those handmade dresses really are.