I am not a big fan of Valentine’s Day, and I never really have been. I don’t say this as a single woman wishing she had someone to celebrate with, either. I started dating my husband Jon in May of 1991, so this is my 19th Valentine’s Day as one half of a couple. Even so, the occasion has never quite lived up to the hype.
I think there is just way too much room for disappointment in a day that’s supposed to be the most romantic occasion of the year. There are way too many opportunities for someone not to catch the hints you’ve been dropping about the gift you really wanted, to burn the dinner that they spent hours preparing, or to get stuck working all day. In fact, I think my husband has worked most every Valentine’s Day since we’ve been married. The downside of having a spouse who works in television is that he heads into the office when everyone else heads home.
This year, it’s going to be me and the kids holding down the fort while Jon works his 5th day out of the 18 straight at the Pacific Colliseum. He will be running a tape machine so that the world can see Olympic figure skating and short-track speed skating. It’s an important job, and an incredible opportunity, and I’m happy for him. But it also means that Valentine’s Day 2010 joins the long list of days that I spent alone eating chocolate and feeling vaguely bitter about Hallmark holidays.
Even when Jon hasn’t been working, Valentine’s Day hasn’t always gone smoothly. There was the year that I expected him to propose, and instead he bought me a Home Depot gift certificate. Or there was the year that we spent in Las Vegas for my sister’s wedding, when I was 7 1/2 months pregnant and everyone around me was drinking and I contracted an infection that led to me giving birth prematurely 5 days later. I just don’t have a good track record with this day, as I reflect on February 14ths of yore.
Thankfully, I have quantities of cinnamon bark to see my through. It’s like peppermint bark, but more valentine-y. When I make mine I omit the butter, and add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon extract to the chocolate chips. And then I consume it at alarming rates, as furtively as possible.
Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope that the cynicism doesn’t overwhelm you, and that you receive as much chocolate as any one person can hope for. Or, if the cynicism has overwhelmed you, feel free to share here, and let me know I’m not the only one.