An impromptu post. (A bit clunky but like I said, impromptu). On this Feb 14th, I felt inspired to write a few words about love.
What does Valentines Day mean to you?
I’ve been married a while and this is the 30th Valentine’s Day that I have shared with Michael. I remember our first. I remember a couple of others, (because of the terrible cards he bought), but, honestly, that’s about it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a sucker for a love story and I absolutely believe in true love, love at first sight and fairy tale endings. I just wonder if, under all the wrapping and the bows and the hype, is the message getting lost?
CUE STEREOTYPICAL OLD PERSON’S ‘we didn’t do it like that in my day’ TYPE POST.
We seem to go from the build-up of the big Christmas TV ad, to the big Boxing Day Sale, to the big event that Valentine’s Day has now become. It’s presence grows stronger each year. Retailers have aisles dedicated to it, further convincing us of our need for pink confectionary and expensive Champagne. I have witnessed it from many angles; the husbands rushing into the supermarket on their way home to grab the last bunch of roses at an extortionate price. The young girls who plan their next boyfriend just before December, to get Christmas and Valentines gifts, only to dump them straight after. The young boys who dump their girlfriends just before December to avoid having to buy said gifts. The established relationships of a year or two in, where the presents get more expensive, just to prove that you are still in love. And, of course, social media, where we play out the perfect moments in front of the whole world.
When I think about future generations, I wonder what it will be like for them and for my own Grandchildren. What will their perception of love be? What will constitute a ‘Grand Gesture’ 20 years from now?
When will cards, flowers, perfume, chocolates, restaurants and diamonds cease to be enough as a way of expressing our love? What will the kids of today expect as a suitable token of their relationship?
I was not fortunate to have witnessed a happy marriage during my childhood, so my own perception was warped. I thought screaming and shouting was the way to communicate to your partner. I thought point scoring, misery and loneliness were just part of being a wife. When I found love, it wasn’t like that, which confused the hell out of me, so I thought I needed gifts just to prove that it was real. For the longest time, I didn’t understand what it really meant to have someone love you.
I consider it one of my (countless) duties as a Grandmother to teach my Grandchildren about true love, about not settling, not compromising yourself and your beliefs. I want to be able to share the magic of what it feels like to fall in love and the importance of taking care of one another every single day. I look forward to telling them about the night I met their Granddad, who had a full head of hair and a terrible singing voice, and I had butterflies in my tummy.
Hearts and flowers are meaningless if the person you are with is not your best friend.
Dinner in an expensive restaurant doesn’t fill you up if you already feel empty.
Pretty things can soon look ugly if there was no love behind the gesture.
What about February 13th, February 15th and all the other days of the year?
I touched briefly on how few Valentines-related memories I have, but not because they were terrible. Not because there was an argument. Not because I was disappointed. I just have countless other memories that mean so much more to me.
Apart from the milestones that you reach as husband and wife, parents and Grandparents, there are those unexpected moments that make you smile. There are times when the simplest of gestures can you make you feel more loved than 1000 red roses. An action that can seem insignificant to most, but means the world to you. It could be as normal as being woken up with a hot cup of tea, buying your favourite chocolate bar when you’ve had a bad day, to watching a film that he has no interest in but knows how much you love it. And hundreds upon hundreds more.
I joked at work this week that it was Valentine’s Day every day in my house.
There’s many a true word spoken in jest.