Friday, 14 February 2014

Valentine's Day - Now and Then


Valentine's Day - Now and Then
13 February 2014

I’m forty one, and I still love Valentine’s Day.  I love the romantic ads on TV.  The red everywhere.  The decorated shops.  The radio talk.  My kids getting excited.  The magazine and newspaper inserts, advertising Valentine's Day gifts.  The messages of love on the day.  The outpourings of romantic declarations of love all around.  The queues in CNA.  The deluge of chocolate.  Basically, I’m a sucker for it all.

I don’t even mind the naff and kitsch stuff.  All plastic and garish and filled to overflowing with feathers and sprinkles, glitter and fake red roses.  I’m happy to embrace it, and to go with the flow.

Yes, it’s commercialised.  Yes things are expensive.  Yes, the flowers will wilt, maybe even before the love.  But for heaven’s sake – just get in the spirit and have some fun!  Spread the love.

I remember the heart palpitating in high school on Valentine’s Day.  Am I going to get something?  Am I going to get something???  Will I know who it’s from?  Will the hot dishy guy I’ve given something to, realise it’s from me?  Even worse – what if he doesn’t?

Life was so exciting, way back then.  I remember looking at the world around me, and thinking – jeez, poor married couples – what a drag Valentine’s Day must be.  Cause once you were married and over the age of twenty five, you were pretty much done for, in my opinion.  Way past your prime.  I imagined the ancient twenty seven year old married couples going out for their boring obligatory Valentine’s Day suppers, talking about their kids.  How dull.  How dreary.  How utterly devoid of love and fun.

If only I had known.  It actually gets better.

Firstly, due to our advanced ages and our advanced pallets, we get to enjoy way better meals.  We’re now actually old enough to have the alcohol with our meal – not the fake-grape-juice-masquerading-as-champagne-concoction.  We don’t have a curfew.  Our stomachs are big enough for starters, main course and a desert thrown in too.  I don’t have to pretend I’m not hungry and pick at a limp salad, whilst salivating at his burger.  We’re of age to drink filter coffee after our meal – without getting the caffeine jitters.  We can afford to go to better places, not just the Spur (and I absolutely LOVE the Spur – we’re people with a taste for life after all).  We go home to the same house.  Don’t have to sneak past my Dad.  Or sneak out at the back window in my loft bedroom, propping a big teddy in my bed, covering it with my duvet, hoping it fools my folks if they check-up on me, cranking up a noisy sash window, going down a creaky staircase, past the squeaking gate.  Chances are, when we get home, our kids will already be in bed and asleep.  If it’s a school night that is.  We don’t even need to organise babysitters, as they’re big enough now. 

I’m forty one and I now go out for a Valentine’s meal with my man, and I look at the world around me thinking – jeez, poor dating couples – what a drag Valentine’s Day must be.  You can’t afford good food, and you don’t like it either.  You get to drink juice.  Coffee gives you the jitters, and if it’s not instant it’s too strong for you.  You’re on a strict budget – usually his.  Problem being, you don’t know what that allows you to have.  You suck on the same cool drink all night long.  You feel obligated to play the, “I’m trying to watch what I eat, so I’ll just have a salad” card.  You’re helluva nervous.  Your palms are sweating.  Chances are you don’t really have much in common and conversation does not exactly flow.  You probably have some of your mom’s lipstick on your front teeth.  You spend the whole meal worrying about whether you have a piece of lettuce stuck in your teeth too.  You have to be home by a certain time.  You go to separate homes at the end of the evening.  If your little brother and sister, or even your parents, are hovering close by when he drops you off, chances are, you won’t even get an honest-to-goodness Valentine’s Day smooch.  Let’s face it – life is pretty grim.

But here’s the thing, as an adult now, I don’t really need the supper.  Or the gifts.  Even the cards.  Oh, I like them.  A lot!  And my husband is usually rewarded very well for his efforts.  Which naturally is a win for me too.  But the truth of the matter is this – even if he gets me nothing, he’ll probably be rewarded pretty well in any rate…

I’m quite happy with a snog in the morning.  A choccie or two.  A special kiss and love from my kids.  Home-made cards from the little kids.  Listening to their excited chatter about giving chocolates to their teachers and debating who they’re going to go with to the Valentine’s Day sokkie at school.  Their ramblings about who they’re giving something special to.  Amber wondering what her Daddy (naturally it’s me), got her.  My boys looking forward to the edible treats I’ve gotten them.  Mad exchanging of teeny-tiny little gifts – mostly for the stomach.  Grand scale chocolate noshing before breakfast.  Usually an extra attentive and complimentary husband – at least in the morning, when Valentine’s Day is still hot on everyone’s lips, and fresh in his memory.  Supper time, normally a special family meal – made with extra care and special little details, usually reserved for special occasions too.  This is Valentine’s Day now – and it’s good.  And it makes my heart so happy.

Being forty one and having Valentine’s Day with the same guy I’ve had for twenty four years and our three gorgeous kids – my best!

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  1. Ag Helene, this is beautiful.
    And you are right - it is great to be a big person and know what is really important.
    I know Valentine has always been a special day for you and Grant!

  2. Jy lyk súper mooi!!! Slim;)

  3. Jy lyk súper mooi!!! Slim;)

  4. Jy lyk súper mooi!!! Slim;)