Just another day

ImageValentine’s Day was yesterday here in Australia. I don’t generally pay it too much attention although the stores have been full of red, white and hearts for the past few weeks in an effort to push the retailers perception of love upon unsuspecting shoppers. Unfortunately, the push by retailers goads people into feeling guilty if they don’t buy something to give to their loved ones on February 14th.

I am somewhat sure that nearly all of us are aware that Valentine’s Day began as a pagan celebration however the church later tied this in with the execution of St Valentine who performed marriages for Roman soldiers in secret and against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II (although this story too is open to conjecture). Whatever the roots of this day, it has now become a major cash cow for retailers the world over who encourage the masses into purchasing chocolates, red roses, jewellery, candy and cards. In today’s economy, we are still being pressured by major retailers to buy, buy, buy and apparently all in the name of love. My question is “Love of what”? Although that is another topic for another post.

When I was growing up, I had no clue what Valentine’s Day even was. Those in Australia who celebrated it, were just ‘following the Americans’. In my teens, I began to take a little more notice of it as the day gained popularity downunder.
I have never been one of those girls who all the guys loved, so receiving a Valentine was something that never happened in my school years. My first ever Valentine’s Day card I ever received was from my first serious boyfriend after I had left school. He gave me a card, bought me chocolates and took his ex-girlfriend out for the evening. Hmmmm should have read the clues on that one right?
Of course there were other times over the years when I did receive something for Valentine’s Day from my ex but they were few and far between.

When I met the Garden Gnome, we exchanged gifts the first year or two we were together (I believe I gave him a rose bush for the garden and he gave me a Celine Dion CD our first year) but by mutual agreement decided that we can tell and show each other any time we like how we feel and it doesn’t require a special day in order to do so.

Why should we have a day that focuses just on giving of gifts in order to show love. And how many people have taken the time to actually think about the harm caused to the self esteem of those who don’t have that special person in their lives? Or those that do but their ‘special’ person completely forgot to acknowledge the day in the way that society expects.

There are a million ways that say “I love you” without having to go out and buy a dozen red roses that will wilt and die within two days. And how many teddy bears do you need before they become dust collectors? I know I will raise the ire of many women with the following statement but I will say it anyway – you don’t need the extra chocolate either. 😛 (Just kidding. Chocolate is a food group on its own as we are all aware). Also,  I am not so stupid as to believe that many of these Valentine’s gifts are given with no strings attached. After all, you don’t give sexy lingerie if you don’t expect to see it modelled. 😉

Now that the Tween is getting older, she is taking notice of Valentine’s Day. We spend much of our time telling her she is special and doesn’t need to receive anything from anyone on this day. Her school (as a fundraiser) takes orders for chocolate roses that are then delivered to the classrooms of students on the day. She was going to order half a dozen for herself lol but didn’t go through with it. She received one  but quickly tracked down who had sent it – one of her friends. She hastened to explain that although it was a boy he was ‘just a mate’ and he had also sent one to her best friend. Another friend of hers gave her a little basket filled with flowers and notes. On each note was listed something her friend admired about her.
What I thought was especially great was that every student in her school (about 1600 students) received a little card and chocolate that read “You are Special. There is only one of you in the entire universe”.
I am pleased that the gifts she received had no emphasis on love but rather on acknowledging her as an individual.

At home, the GG and I exchanged cards (he said he loved the card I had made). It isn’t the cards that mean much but the words written inside. The GG also gave the Tween a card and enclosed a whoopie cushion inside it. He picked some flowers from our garden and bought them inside. We spent the evening with the middle child, his wife and her sister eating spaghetti bolognese and watching DVDs. It was an ordinary day and one that we can choose to replicate any other day of the year that we wish to.

The point I make is that each and every day that we live on this earth is a time of celebration. Each and every person we meet is special and worthy of love. We don’t need to set aside one day each year to prove to someone just how special they are. Although I jokingly commented on one of my friend’s blogs “Nothing says ‘I love you’ like doing the dishes”, it’s true. My middle child has just left us. I am not feeling the greatest with my head and there were dishes all over the sink. The GG told me not to worry about it and went in the kitchen and washed up. That’s worth more to me than a floral bouquet or box of chocolates.
Why do we need to spend millions of dollars on one day each year to prove our love when we can show love every day by doing and saying little things? Surely society would be a much better place in which to reside if we did.

Who does Valentine’s Day really profit?

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33 thoughts on “Just another day

  1. You are right Sue. It is much better to show and maybe tell, up to who you are, every day in the year, than only support the shops one time a year.
    Nice the GG did see, what you needed at that time.
    Remember to keep the good days in mind for other times.
    Irene

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  2. Valentine’s day this year I had planned to grab some ingredients having left work at 5pm, to create a prawn cocktail (circa 1970s style) that my husband has fond memories of childhood with. All plans were put on the backburner when his dad needed to be rushed to hospital due to blood tests indicating dangerously high potassium levels. Here’s the stress “I dont do hospitals’ . No, really, I have panic attacks in medical buildings. But my husband called and the urgency in his voice told me I had to get his dad to hospital. I took him in; actually spoke to the triage nurse in the triage area surrounded by oxygen measuring equipment, BP monitors and ECG monitors, while ambulance officers related stories nearby. During this in my head I was rehearsing telling the nurse “I have to get out of here’ as sweat coated my hands and face and I could hardly breathe. I just couldn’t get the words out. I sat in ED til my husband could get there after work (two hours after the phone call). Had to leave then in a panic state. The whole time I think some of the patients there were a bit worried by me cause my face was burning, I was sweating and puff breathing and I have a cough from a cold (adding to the scene ) . Bet they thought I was infectious badly- one even moved seats hahahaha.

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    1. Oh you poor thing. It must have been such an ordeal for you. But you did this because you love your husband and father in law – a gift much greater than a prawn cocktail I am sure.
      I hope all is okay with your FIL now.

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  3. When I was growing up, I had no clue what Valentine’s Day even was. Those in Australia who celebrated it, were just ‘following the Americans’

    Can’t tell you how pleased I am to see that! I thought my memory must have holes in it.

    I agree with everything you’ve said. The pressure applied casts doubts on any possibility of sincerity, and what’s more, V Day or not, giving women chocolates always reminds me of giving men socks – what you come up with when you can’t think of anything else.

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  4. I enjoyed Valentine’s week in high school. Each day had a special event: free hugs, random acts of kindness, Valentine’s concert, etc. No girls liked me, but the events made me feel included. In fact, my favorite high school memory is of performing at the Valentine’s Day concert. Now, I find Valentine’s Day abominable. One of my favorite pop songs, “My Funny Valentine,” says it best: “each day is Valentine’s day.”

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  5. None of my posts will show up in my Reader and I haven’t said anything wrong. This place is a joke for me anyway; I get very few likes or comments. Obviously nobody wants me here! I’ll leave my two blogs up for one week so you can take anything of interest you want, if you haven’t already. Come next Saturday, I’m terminating my blogs; have a nice life…

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    1. Spartacus, it must be a glitch in the system or in your settings. For a while there I wasn’t receiving anything at all and found that there was this one little box that needed unticking… see what I mean?
      It really sucks when life is getting us down but please don’t allow the cyber world to impact too much on what is happening in your real world.
      Word Press is a wonderful place to find support and I hope you reconsider your thoughts of terminating your blog.
      Be kind to yourself.

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      1. Thank you so much Suzy, I decided to stay. In a way, it’s an escape from my real world. I’m not having a very good time, the way things are here. And sometimes I boil over because of unrelated things. I lowered my: ‘Happy Pill’ intake, in hopes of seeing my problems more clearly and dealing with them. It’s not easy, yet I have made progress.

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        1. I can understand your desire in wanting to cope without the happy pills. I stopped mine before Christmas and whilst it is not easy to deal with things, it certainly helps when you have a clearer mind.
          Good for you in your progress.

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  6. I agree that not only Valentine’s Day is commercial but all holidays are commercial cash-generating machines. While I don’t believe in completely ignoring them, I do believe in not getting so into it that we feel like we “have” to do something. Being a woman with no children, I always feel left out on Mother’s Day. What about Daughter’s Day? Or single mom’s day? Or Fibromyalgia Awareness Day? Sheesh! Frankly, it’s just a bit too much in our hectic day to be worried about another holiday every couple of weeks. We should express our love how we want to and not be forced to based on some Hallmark Holiday. Whew…that felt good to say that! haha

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    1. Feel better now? 😉
      And I agree that those who aren’t mothers are excluded on Mother’s Day.
      I don’t generally do a lot of these ‘days’ too much except for Christmas. I think Christmas should be the only special holiday each year 😀 😀

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  7. While I totally agree that we should be expressing love on a daily basis, I don’t think it hurts to have a day where we really bring it into focus. (Which also brings up the newer “holiday” Sweetest Day in October in the US). However, that being said, it’s the buying into the commercialism of these and ANY holidays which is the problem (in my opinion), not the holiday itself. I think that a day to focus on relationships or expressing love (or honoring mothers) or whatever is a good thing., because we are human and in spite of good intentions, we sometimes forget to do these things on an ongoing basis. A day to focus on them reminds us. To me, the problem is our expectations of what those holidays mean about what we should “receive.” I mean that if we didn’t buy into the commercialism (excuse the pun), the day could be about people instead of things. The problem with the commercialism is that for many it becomes almost a competition. Whose husband, boyfriend, wife, girlfriend, etc. can out-do someone else’s.

    I personally love Valentine’s Day, and it’s not about gifts or dinner out or any of that. There isn’t a day that goes by when my husband doesn’t let me know how special I am to him, but it’s nice to have a few special days in the year where we celebrate our relationship, We don’t need Hallmark or anyone else to do that. Not that we don’t occasionally do gifts for each other, but those are the things that just happen when the opportunity arises, not because the commercialism calendar signals that it’s time.

    I hope that makes sense. I do ramble sometimes.

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    1. I agree that these days serve as a ‘reminder’ to some to appreciate the people in their lives but the rampant commercialism has really gotten out of control.
      Thanks for a very well thought out response. 🙂

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      1. True, but so it is with Christmas and other holidays as well. As people have found a way to be countercultural for Christmas, it can be done for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc. 🙂

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  8. Yeah, I kinda disagree!

    I love Valentines! Every year growing up my parents got us a card and a heart shaped box of chocolates. I loved waking up and finding it! I continued the tradition with my son and he loves it, too! In fact, this year, my dad stopped by and dropped off a box of chocolates for me – it was such a treat!

    Yes, we love each other the rest of the year, yes, we show it – but there is something to be said for the little traditions and honored moments that I can share with my son. There is something to be said with the random card that shows up in the mail. And, I’ll take any extra excuse to party, I’ll take a debatable holiday as an excuse to remind me that life is here to live and to enjoy! I love the holiday and I love the treats and good times that come with it! I love the fact that everyone makes a point to think about what special treat they can get their loved ones. I love seeing people standing in front of the cards picking out just the right one.

    And I really hope that my son loved the card and chocolate tradition so much that he carries it forward and does it with his wife and kids when he grows up!

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    1. That’s so cool that you grew up with a wonderful tradition in your home.
      Here in Australia, it really has only been in the past 10-15 years or so that V-Day has really become a big thing. So growing, up I really didn’t have a lot to do with it.
      I hope your family continue the traditions because I think traditions make a family special.

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