Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Funny Valentine

I know it's a mixed bag when it comes to Valentine's Day. It seems that the world is polarized, there are those of us who ADORE the holiday, embracing it as a day of love and viewing it as an opportunity to express what is in our hearts with overpriced roses and boxes of chocolates.  And then you have the HATERS. Those who roll their eyes and wave away St. Valentine's Day, explaining that it is a Hallmark holiday, created out of commercialism and a thorn in the side of those in the lonely hearts club.

I know better than to try and convince the HATERS of the merits of the holiday, so I will save my breath. Instead  in honor of the special day I am going to tell you a little story.

For my 16th or 17th birthday ( I honestly cannot remember which one) my grandmother took me out to Ruby Tuesdays to celebrate. We had lunch and split a desert with a single candle in it. After our meal while still sitting in our booth my grandmother handed me a small gift wrapped package and told me she had a story that went along with it. I unwrapped my present to find a gold cocktail ring with a gigantic red garnet stone. I loved the stone but was taken aback by the size and couldn't imagine wearing that ring on my small fingers. My grandmother then told me the story of her first Valentine's Day after my grandfather passed away. She was alone and mourning and working hard to make ends meet. After work she wandered into a jewelry store, browsing, feeling sad that her valentine was gone. She came upon this sparkly red ring. She asked the jeweler if she could try it on and once she slipped it on her finger she decided she had to have it. My grandmother was not accustomed to buying fancy things for herself, but she realized, that with her husband gone she was her own valentine, and if she didn't purchase that ring, nobody else was going to buy it for her.

And she gave the ring to me. I wish I could say I still had it, but unfortunately it got lost in one of my many moves after college and is now only a memory. But her story was the real gift. It was a tale of empowerment and self love.

I have a lot of valentines. My three munchkins and my husband. And I am grateful for them all. They will each receive some sort of gift from me, but this year I'm also my very own valentine. I'm not buying a fancy piece of jewelry, but I'm taking extra steps to make myself happy. Yesterday I purchased an orchid to brighten up my dreary basement office. Today I packed up my laptop and drove to a sunny coffee shop where I worked for several hours, a change of scenery, something small but simple that I could do just for me.  After the gym I went to my favorite wine store and asked for a good (not cheap!) bottle of Syrah, which I am enjoying right now. ($29.99, Phoenix Ranch 2009)  And I took time out of my day to write this post, because writing makes me happy and I don't do it often enough

So Happy Valentine's Day to all of my friends, loved ones, and even you Valentine's Day HATERS. Be good to those you love. Be good to you.

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