I was shopping with a friend a few weeks ago. As I helped her decide which things to buy and which to put back, I picked up a pair of pants she had picked up for her daughter.
“No. Put these back.”
“But why? They’re so cute!”
“There are hearts on them.”
“What’s wrong with hearts?”
“I don’t like hearts.”
“You HATE LOVE?”
— __ — __ —
I don’t hate love. Hearts maybe, but not love.
If you have ever spent time with me in February, you know that I don’t get excited about Valentine’s Day. FireDad and I don’t “celebrate” the “holiday.” There are no gifts. There is no expectation of gifts. We don’t exchange cards — though I occasionally break the rules and give him a snort-worthy card from Robin Plemmons who I didn’t know when I first starting giving them to him and then I met her at Type-A and now am even more amused because he met her at BlogHer ’11 as well. Also, I don’t like chocolate. No really.
I just can’t get into the fanfare. Like disliking chocolate — and hearts — something is probably inherently wrong with me.
But I don’t hate love.
— __ — __ —
I helped BigBrother get to school today with his Spiderman valentine cards to give his friends. He didn’t have to make and take a box this year as his teacher helped each student make one that apparently looks like a bear; I can’t wait to see it. I reminded him to be on his best behavior since everyone was bound to be keyed up today.
He jumped out and left me behind.
I smiled as I drove away, heading back home to get busy on my day which does, in fact, involve heart shaped things. I pulled up to a nearby intersection and saw something on the road. At first they looked like baseball cards. As the words, “that’s odd,” popped into one side of my brain, my poor, anti-Valentine, Grinchy little heart realized what I was seeing scattered across an intersection two blocks from the school.
A line of cars waited behind me, so I continued all the way home. I parked in my driveway. I went inside. I got more coffee. I sat down. I got back up again. I got back in my car. I drove back to the intersection.
I just kept imagining some poor child, dropping his Valentine’s on the way to school. Maybe not noticing. Maybe too scared to stand in the middle of a busy morning intersection and pick them up. Maybe running late and not wanting to get in trouble. It was all I could do to keep from crying, worrying about this child’s Valentine’s Day tragedy. That stuff stick with you forever — like the time I got dumped in 8th grade on Valentine’s Day. Harsh.
I parked my car, got out, walked to the scattered Valentines, picked one up and found… that they weren’t Valentines at all. They were Glidden paint chip cards. Be still my heart! No child was sobbing on his teacher at school. No child was sitting in the office waiting to call her mom. Valentine’s Day is not ruined!
I got back in the car, circling back around to our house.
And laughed really hard at myself.
For a Self-Professed Anti-Valentiner, I did get awfully emotional about some child’s scattered valentines.
I don’t hate love.
I hate forced acts of love. I hate hearts and chocolate and doilies. I hate when people in relationships — men or women — expect things from their partner just because it’s a holiday. Or any day really as I hate entitlement. But I love love. I love people doing something for other people because they want to, not because they’re expected to. I love people doing something out of the goodness of the heart. I left my house, unshowered with my hair in a crazy messy bun and no makeup on my face, prepared to walk into my son’s school with muddy Valentines in order to save an unknown child’s holiday — a holiday that I don’t even like. I was overjoyed when I didn’t have to, but I would have done it.
I don’t hate love.
Now excuse me while I go turn on an Anti-Valentine’s Day playlist on Spotify. I’ve been horribly sappy today and need to get my detox started now. (But, before I run off and put on all black, go ahead and read this beautiful love story. I got weepy. See, I’m not heartless.)