Valentine’s Day is one of those
do-it-yourself celebrations. There are no parades or feasts or family
gatherings. When I was single, I could always count on a card from my
mother and, needless to say, would send one to her. Commerce has no
respect for the single, however, and for a month every year, the U.S
turns red and pink.
I’m not sure if I should thank Cupid
or St. Valentine or, perhaps, my late Catholic mother, but at last I
can say that, goddess willing and the river don’t rise, I won’t
be single again for the rest of my life. Which leaves me with the
challenge of coming up with unique ways to celebrate the day for
about thirty more years.
Not that my sweetheart expects this –
she’d be content with a card and a kiss and lots of laughter thrown
in. No, I have a need to prove my love year after year with some
small extraordinary offering.
She does that year-round. Just today,
on our monthly anniversary, she presented me with the gift of all
gifts. My sweetheart gave me – you’re not going to believe how
incredible she is – a Golden Snitch fidget spinner.
“I saw (author) Nell Stark with one,”
explained my sweetheart, “and I had to get it for you.” All my
other spinners pale before its silent and graceful niftiness.
In turn, I gave my sweetheart a gift I
held back from the winter holidays: a boat and lighthouse tea light
candle holder. Which I gleaned from the free table at our community
Yes, we do celebrate our anniversary
every month and have for going on twelve years. Doesn’t every
couple? We don’t always mark the date with gifts. Sometimes it’s
a handmade card, a note, a walk on the beach.
That leaves me with the question: what
can I come up with to make Valentine’s Day 2019 special?
It goes without saying that some years
I have decorated effusively. The Dollar Store is helpful with that
when we’re flush. This year I’ll be recycling whatever has
survived the years: the lights, balloons, ceiling decorations,
banners, window clings, cardboard cutouts, yard signs, door
decorations, garlands. I’ve been known to get kind of obnoxious.
Before the diets, I was able to reach
directly back to my childhood. My father always gave my mother a
regulation red cloth-covered, heart-shaped box of assorted candies,
invariably from Fanny Farmer’s, which was big at that time. I
remember the shop near my subway stop—was it 42nd Street and 6th
Avenue? The glorious smells, the enticing boxes… In any case,
though I refrain out of kindness, the giving of the red heart of
candies will always mean Valentine’s Day to me.
For my part, it was all about the cards
when I was a kid. You sat at the kitchen table and cut out children’s
cards by the dozens. They were miniatures and I was disappointed that
they didn’t fold. This was before Disney and other franchises took
over the industry. The scissors I used were heavy and large, probably
from my mother’s sewing basket. It was awkward, cutting on the
dotted lines with little girl hands. Then you took an actual wooden
pencil, hoping for soft lead, sharpened it and wrote the name of
every kid in the apartment building, signed your own, and left the
cards at their doors.
So of course, I did that to my
sweetheart one year. Bought a package of kid cards and stuck them all
over the house. She’s such a sport.
Or the year of the Valentine’s Day
stickers. Stuck on mirrors, inside the refrigerator, on the front
door, the back door, the garage, her pillow, her clothes, her car. If
we hadn’t moved, she’d still be finding them.
We’ve toasted by candlelight, just
the two of us, at restaurants. She likes me to buy her a drink at the
bar. We’ve revisited special places, like the National Park where
we exchanged rings after signing domestic partnership papers.
Oh, and the stuffed animals, ever in
their small basket demonstrating my overenthusiasm. Had she told me
she wasn’t a stuffed animal sort of gal? Yes, she had, but I
couldn’t help myself, the things were so sweet.
We have a gift card to a favorite
restaurant this year. We’re planning to get a bite to eat. I’ll
order her a pretty glass of Prosecco. She’ll wear her red sweater,
black slacks and a shiny pair of earrings. I’ll dress up with my
good jeans, a button-down shirt and, this being the Pacific
Northwest, a rain jacket.
But I have to give the day my own
grateful, adoring, loving touch. Something original that I’ve never
done before. Probably something a little bit annoying, but meant
well. It can’t cost money or calories, so there go the chocolates
and diamond ring and flowers. Time is getting short.
How about a love letter? I could title
it “How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day.”
[Editor's Note: Lee Lynch is the author
of over 13 books. Her latest, Rainbow Gap, is available at
Strokes Books. You can reach Lynch at LeeLynch@ontopmag.com]
Copyright 2019 Lee Lynch.