The Valentine Blues

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.

Cinnamon bark

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.

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  1. The best thing about Valentine's Day? Half price chocolate the next day. 🙂

  2. Amenm, Amber! One Valentine’s day when I was studying abroad in London, my friends and I wore all black and walked around with black umbrellas as a sort of protest. I think it’s a BS holiday that makes people who don’t have someone feel badly!
    .-= Old School/New School Mom´s last post ..Circle =-.

  3. First – oh that cinnamon bark looks yummy!!

    Second, like you I’m happily married and have been for a long time – but Valentine’s is not a particularly special day for us. My husband proposed on Feb 15 because he refused to propose on a cliche holiday. This year he’ll be working while I try to keep the kids entertained at the tail end of his two week away rotation. I’m getting to the end of my patience but I’m hoping heart-shaped pancakes will buy me a slightly more pleasant than usual morning tomorrow!

  4. You’re not the only one… My valentine is in Papua New Guinea. Of course, if he stayed home for all of the Hallmark holidays, he’d never make his goal. It’s a dumb holiday, but at least the good chocolate goes on sale on the 15th. 🙂

    .-= Old School/New School Mom´s last post ..Circle =-.

  6. I posted on this last year, in much the same vein — single, newly partnered or married for years, I think V-Day sets up EVERYONE for disappointment. Tomorrow we’re going out to my husband’s grandparents’ place to celebrate Eve’s and Nana’s birthdays. Screw Valentine’s Day.
    .-= Allison McCaskill´s last post ..************Not fair or sporting in any way =-.

  7. Totally agree with Jolie, all that chocolate on sale on Monday. I will be at Waitrose in a flash… I saw a bunch of roses today in a shop that cost £25.00 – 4 roses and some white stuff to be exact… that is just nuts. Both of us never cared about this holiday, it’s just way to spend too much money.
    .-= Mel´s last post ..Thankful Friday: yep, I am still standing =-.

  8. i’ve never been able to make much sense of Valentine’s Day, and I was just amazed at how much recognition it earns in the blogosphere (and/or perhaps in the rest of the world). Personally, I don’t need a consumers celebration to tell me about feelings. Still, I’m sending you a virtual valentine and hugs:)
    .-= Francesca´s last post ..About a snack =-.

  9. Looks yummy! Oh gosh, what a scary thing to have happened to you with your pregnancy – no wonder you have bad associations. We keep it simple and have a tradition of spicy Indian food and sparkling wine every year. That is it. We don’t do gifts or go out so there are no expectations or disappointments. I think we try to spin every holiday into eating something yummy.

  10. ditto to almost all the above. i don’t think i’ve ever had the “hallmark” romantic valentines day – this year i got phoned from LA airport to be asked what kind of booze i would like from duty free and were there any smellies i was running short of. whoof! the moment just flew out of the window. i’ll probably pop down to my fave florists the day after and order something nice and compensatory (and cheaper). for me valentines day is a DIY celebration (actually most celebrations are DIY round here). geez – am so cynical

    but i have started training the next generation – there’s a miniature rose hidden for my son. i’ll put it in his bedroom on V day so when he wakes up he’ll see it
    .-= pomomama aka ebbandflo´s last post ..friday forte – bless you =-.

  11. …. and to deflect the bah humbuggishness of it all i’ve planned a shift working in the arts centre giftshop on The Day!!!

    PS: the Wearable Arts award display is up = v colourful and visual, a great hit with kids??? bring the cinnamon bark if you drop by ……. 😉
    .-= pomomama aka ebbandflo´s last post ..friday forte – bless you =-.

  12. Ooooh…I love peppermint bark, and I love cinnamon hearts. The idea of marrying the two tastes has me salivating. I must try!

    In math-related news, doesn’t this year make your 18th Valentine’s Day together?
    .-= Lynn´s last post ..Blah Blah Blah. =-.

  13. At the risk of becoming wildly unpopular the first time I comment on your blog, I have always enjoyed V-Day…even when I was unattached. There’s something to be said for taking a day to let people know that you love them and you don’t have to let them know with expensive gifts and over-inflated plans that have the potential to fall apart. In the past I have sent cards to my best friends, made dessert for people at work, hand-made gifts for family members, and it was all fun and greatly appreciated. Since my husband and I have been together, we’ve used this day to be together and appreciate each other…no gifts, no big plans. Last year we took our boys to a favorite pizza place, this year we are making a Paula Deen dessert and going to see Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”. Of course you should appreciate the people you love 365 days a year, but is it so bad that there’s a date on the calendar specifically for that purpose?
    .-= Earth Muffin´s last post .."Smart, sexy and seriously funny!" =-.

  14. Yeah, Valentine’s Day is usually a pretty big let down ’round these parts too. As I’m tying this, HH is laying next to me snoring (it’s 10 pm, yo.) I’m sick, the kids are sick, so even if we wanted to go somewhere, we couldn’t. John used to work in the restaurant biz, which meant he worked EVERY holiday, including this one, so we’ve only had the last 3 to ourselves. 2 years ago we went to a fabulous meal, but my dad totally crashed our date by inviting himself and his then-girlfriend out with us (that was awesome.) Last year, we did have a romantic date, but the food wasn’t very good and we left the restaurant feeling like we’d blown too much money and our babysitting dollars on a crap dinner.

    Ah well. At least I have someone laying next to me snoring. That’s certainly an improvement over the Valentine’s days of my early twenties! 😉

    And wow— 19 years!!! How can that be? You are not old enough to have known someone for 19 years.. are you?
    .-= TheFeministBreeder´s last post ..Coming to a Television Near You on March 3rd… =-.

  15. We usually do some kind of small chocolate-y celebration, but I think this year we’re just going to hang tight and refill the ice machine connected to my husband’s knee brace. Not exactly romantic, but that’s how it goes.

    Good luck to you while Jon is busy with the Games. It’s a long run.
    .-= Lady M´s last post ..If Our Family Were Made of Little Clay Creatures =-.

  16. pretty much ditto on what’s said above and in your post. we don’t really celebrate it. no gifts or special things. i found the little knitted hearts i put on my blog post and found them irresistible. so really valentine’s day was the perfect excuse to knit them.

    happy chocolate day!
    .-= smothermother´s last post ..Happy Valentine’s Day =-.

  17. I just feel a tad ripped off over not having received any chocolate. What’s that about? I did get a book of poems by my favorite poet though. So that was cool.
    .-= Melodie´s last post ..The Things I Didn’t Expect When I Was Expecting =-.

  18. That is BEAUTIFUL bark!

    I’ve never been a big Valentine’s fan either. I am suspicious of any Halmark holiday that claims you HAVE to spend money on somone to prove that you love them. Throw in tacky teaddy bears, fake roses and cheap chocolate in fancy chocolates and it’s a completely BAD idea in my books.

    My husband was uneasy about NOT doing anything “special” for Valentine’s for years, he kept trying (bless him) and doing a lovely job of it too (real flowers, good chocolate…). Those Hallmark guys had him brainwashed! I finally have him convinced — after 17 years together — that he can spoil me on my birthday (just 2 weeks from now) instead.

    He always shows me love any day of the year, it doesn’t need to be on some saint’s day for that.
    .-= *pol´s last post ..XOXOXOXO =-.

  19. I’m not really a big fan of the day, but I don’t begrudge lovers the opportunity to express their devotion to one another. While we should always be mindful of our good fortune if we are in a good relationship, sometimes we need a reminder, and this day provides as good an excuse as any.

  20. My husband made it very clear he hates Valentine’s Day. I used to love it. But, I have since learned to not expect anything on that day, since we’ve been together. I tried the first year, with a rose and a funny card, but he told me it embarrassed him at work. The next year I sent him a heart-shaped lunch. He refussed to eat it. So now, we get up, and no one even mentions that it is Valentine’s Day anymore. It’s mildly depressing, but I just shrug. Pick your battles. He changes diapers and cooks, I shouldn’t complain.

    I did, however, get a very pretty heart-shaped craft from my son this year, so not all was lost, and perhaps I can look forward to celebrating with my son for a few years to reclaim some of the sentiment on Valentine’s.
    .-= Caroline´s last post ..Where I’ve Been – Part 7 =-.

  21. ooh the bark looks delicious!

    I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day either. Almost 10 years ago I had a dreadful Valentine’s day where my ex travelled 2 hours to surprise me with my favorite candy: white gummy bears (You can imagine what he had to do to get ONLY the white ones), and at the same time, a guy that who was interested in me was already visiting and the two found each other. It became a nightmare for all of us. I’m sure these two guys remember that horrible moment every Valentine’s day. However, my ex did get married on Valentine’s day… maybe it was to erase the memories.

    Either way, I still am not a fan, but my husband is. He likes to still go out for dinner and maybe see a movie. So I play along, for him. It was also his choice to see the movie Valentine’s Day… ON Valentine’s Day. Yes. It was awkward but I did it for him. I guess that is my gift to him.
    .-= Sara´s last post ..Another LONG week =-.

  22. I’m not much of a fan of any comemrcialized holiday. I’d rather spend a quite after5noon with the family than “have” to do something just because it’s a holiday and it’s expected.

    And Jon giving you a Home Depot gift card for Valentine’s Day…awesome. Just awesome.

  23. I have problems with people telling me what to do. That includes Valentine’s Day. 🙂 As if I am supposed to love the husband more or tell him more on that day.
    .-= Capital Mom´s last post ..Things I love =-.

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  1. […] it with great significance and hold high expectations, but let’s face it, history has shown that’s not going to work in my favour. Or I can come up with something fun to do for myself and my kids and enjoy it as just another […]

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