Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for love and tokens of love. Just seeing all those pink and red hearts in February, which is, let’s face it–the ugly duckling of all the months–is both hopeful and cheerful. All the commercials on TV about surprising your sweetie with roses, candy, jewelry, etc. is just part of the wonderful freedom we enjoy in this country to expand our commercialism one more day. I’ve enjoyed many Valentine’s Days and received all of the above throughout my life. No question about it–another excuse to get jewelry and candy is just fine with me.
When we are young women, we so want to lord it over our friends and show off our new bracelet/ring/heart necklace and the big satin box of chocolates, or, best of all–getting flowers at work. It’s a lavish poke in the eye to all around us who don’t get all that–we secretly enjoy that slightly naughty glow of ‘see how much *I* am loved?’
But here’s the thing: it’s pretty easy to pick up all those lovely Valentine goodies and slap them on a credit card and boom: you’re good with your loved one. There’s nothing wrong with this–everyone’s happy and the giver looks like a hero. The givee is thrilled and has something to crow about. Again, nothing at all is wrong with that.
But speaking strictly for me, things change when you get older. You no longer have to impress everyone around you; you are in the relationship of your choice with the person of your choice. You are comfortable around each other; you really can be your own true self. You’ve had the serious talks, you’ve had a few healthy disagreements, and you know pretty much what pleases and displeases the other person. You come to recognize what really matters to that person, and guess what–it may not be flowers and candy.
On one occasion, the Crankee Yankee (AKA, my husband), had a bouquet of gorgeous pink stargazer lilies sent to the house for me, and I was thrilled. He knows I adore them, and the scent is heavenly. However, a few days later, we found that our oldest cat, Nala, had been chewing on the blossoms and leaves. Lilies are deadly to cats, and we rushed her to the emergency room. Thankfully, she was fine, but we decided it just wasn’t worth it to have flowers in the house–we love our cats more than flowers.
I gave up sugar two years ago, which means no more boxes of my beloved Whitman’s Sampler. The Crankee Yankee respects this, and doesn’t bring temptation into the house. So, there’s two Valentine’s day standards down the hopper.
BUT–the Crankee Yankee vacuums the house for me. (Words can’t describe how much I hate, loathe and despise vacuuming. I’d rather scrub public toilets than vacuum.) He also cleans the snow off my car and warms it up for me before I go to work. He prepares the majority of our meals, does the shopping and cleans the three litter boxes. He clears a path in our backyard so that the neighborhood cats (as well as the racoons, skunks and the occasional possum) can walk into the enclosure under our porch and help themselves to the kibble we put out. He also built two big feeders for the birds and squirrels, and keeps it loaded up during the cold weather.
Besides all this, he designed and built four beautiful raised beds in front of our house for our flower and vegetable gardens. He is a wonderful carpenter and has effectively added three rooms to our little house by building a gorgeous screened back porch, a front porch and a covered deck leading to our breezeway. Additionally, he continues to repair and renovate our house throughout the year.
That, my friends, is love in action. May we all be lucky in love and in friendship. Happy Valentine’s Day to us all.