Valentine’s: It originated as a Western Christian feast day honoring one or two early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine and is recognized as a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world. This is when lovers express their affection with greetings and gifts.
I didn’t grow up having Valentine’s Day as a big celebration.
My parents didn’t do it, not sure if because we were in Portugal.
I only remember the date unlike now!
Now we see hearts, teddy bears, and RED all over the stores since January 1st.
I remember also being a bit stressed in High School, when the teachers decided to send secret love letters and distributed them in class. Then of course either you were in the group of popular kids or like me, who belonged more in the nerd’s group, didn’t get any letter. I remember feeling embarrassed!
I also remember when I was a senior in High School, having my first boyfriend, and feeling so happy, or relieved that I was part of the group who was not expected to receive these love letters anymore as I was already taken!
Thinking back, I can’t believe I lived these moments!
Now, after that first boyfriend from high school that I mentioned, I met my then boyfriend in college, now my husband… and we’re celebrating our 20th Valentine’s together!
Can you believe how things worked out!?
I remember being stressed in high school because I didn’t have a Valentine to celebrate with, but let me tell you, having a Valentine can be so stressful too.
I believe it is all about setting the expectations, and this is what I would like to share about in this blog post – some of my experiences not matching the expectations of a happy Valentine’s day!
Here’s a couple of stories of our 20 Valentine’s together with my husband:
On our first ever Valentine’s day, I was a Junior in college and I was sick! Sick like being in bed with really bad tonsillitis. I was living in my parent’s house.
The fever was very high, and my boyfriend decided to visit me and make sure he wished me a Happy Valentine’s Day!
Looks cute, right? No, hold on…
We didn’t have cell phones, and I was living in my parent’s house; we were together for less than six months, I was a college junior, and he was a senior.
My parents didn’t know about it, and when the cool boyfriend with long hair with a ponytail, with the gear of a motorcycle, knocked at my parent’s house, having my mother open the door, unaware of all the situation… you can start painting the picture.
My mother sees him through the door and she didn’t open it at first. She thought it could be someone with bad intentions, well, because this person looks suspicious!
Then this person from the other side of the door said, “I am your daughter’s boyfriend. I just came here to check on Ana to see if she is feeling better, and give my Valentine’s card with a present…”
Can you imagine my mom’s face?
Thank GOD I was sleeping… under the effect of the medicine that I didn’t realize this situation!
But I was told off by my mom! As you can believe, she was not happy about my new boyfriend! Which was a problem for a while!
It was not a pretty Valentine’s, since my boyfriend got upset, as I didn’t tell my mom about our relationship!
Our second story takes like ten years later or more.
I was always trying to be cool about Valentine’s. This means I was always saying, “Nah! We shouldn’t be celebrating Valentine’s, no presents, no night out, too many people!”
Well, it is okay saying that, but at the end, I was expecting to have a kind of celebration anyway. I know I’m not alone in this!
Like I know we say we shouldn’t, but we’d still be happy to receive some kind of surprise. It makes us feel special.
We were living in the UK and we were already married and had our son when I said the same thing, “Nah, we shouldn’t be following these holidays! Too commercial, and we should celebrate Valentine’s day every day!”
But again, I didn’t mean it, deep inside of me. But by that time I realized there were too many expectations from my husband’s side, so I decided to take the initiative and make a reservation in a nice restaurant in Birmingham, the town we were living in the UK.
The restaurant was bustling, and there was a 2-hour slot at 6:30 pm.
I was super happy. I did my nails, my makeup, even put on a lovely dress! Ready for the surprise!
I called my husband, it was a Thursday, and my husband told me he’s on his way to the gym as he committed to give a class there! (He’s a martial arts instructor.)
And I was like, “WHAT!?”
I prepared a surprise, booked a nice restaurant, and had a 2-hour window without flexibility. I was all dressed up and even booked a babysitter just so I could make this one day special for just the two of us!
And then my husband had a class in the gym!
As you can imagine, it was a tense Valentine’s Day!
In the end, my husband canceled his class, but it was not the same, as we spent the whole night talking about who was right!
I am telling you these two stories because there are two things I want you to take out of this:
1. Be honest to yourself.
Understand what you want and speak up.
Also, be authentic to others around you.
2. There are no perfect moments.
Your ideal moment depends on what you want to feel.
And what you want to feel does not depend on a nice restaurant or a nice gift.
I believe any excuse is the right moment to reflect on being grateful and celebrating what we have! It doesn’t need to be a standard celebration from a Vogue magazine, with the best Valentine’s gifts, but it needs to be something you like and feel grateful for!
I stopped saying “I didn’t care about Valentine’s!”
I keep saying “We need to celebrate everyday!”
I started saying “Valentine’s day is one day to be lived as well.”
So we do it our way, which at the moment includes our children as well.
We celebrate it at home, and my husband cooks a special meal.
An exceptional meal for my husband would be like a lamb dish!
But the thing is: I don’t like it when he cooks lamb at home as the smell makes me sick.
So what we did is we compromised and agreed to match the expectations of everybody: NO LAMB for Valentine’s Day!
I hope that on Valentine’s Day you will stay true to yourself, speak up, and make the most out of the moment. Do it your own way! The way YOU want to feel.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you, my friend.
How do you like to celebrate your Valentine’s Day? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!