Tiny Cards and Chalk Hearts
There is a truth about V-Day I’ve always projected and protected in order to keep my heart and mind safely inside their respective mild-to-medium-cynical zones. That truth is this: it’s a gross holiday—an excuse for deadbeat partners to make up for 364 other days of romantic failure. But the other Truth, the non-cynical one, is this: it’s kinda sweet…at least it has sweetness potential. Like Splenda, you’ll never actually believe it tastes like the real thing, but it will do.
Back in elementary school, V-Day was one of my favorite “this academic day will now be a waste-due-to-sugar” holidays. I loved the tradition of buying those tiny cards. Each year my determination to put a unique spin on the tiny card grew. I’d make it so by taking an otherwise commonplace Aladdin tiny card and glue those inedible (according to me–good for you if you love them) chalk hearts around the edges. I put forth this effort not because I wanted Jon T (name Semi-withheld), who I softly punched in the nose causing minor-but-real bleeding after some playground teasing–to “be mine”, but because I liked to show off, ok? It was like extracurricular extra credit. I also loved receiving the tiny cards. It didn’t seem to matter that the kids were forced to hand them out–“Yes, you must hand them out to EVERYone!” It still felt special. And there were usually Splenda-less, gluten-filled cupcakes.
So what about now? Why is it I feel obligated to thumb my nose at Hallmark’s favorite Day like it’s diseased? Well, if I’m honest (and why stop now), it also has to do with hanging on to the tradition I shared with my late great partner-in-crime Dan Fritz:
Treat “random” days like Valentines Day.
“I’m don’t need some dang specific day to tell you you’re the best, Babs.” he’d say. (One secret Nickname revealed and nope, neither one of us swore–also irritating, I know.)
Sometimes I’d come home to daisies on the table or a random Reece’s peanut butter cup on top of a hand-written note. One summer, before we were married, Dan saved up his money to buy me this red leather jacket just because he thought I’d like it…
My favorite gifts were, however, kind words–funny words, and poems and drawings and things made by hand. We both gave those freely and joyfully. But what does this say about he big day in question–V-Day? Is it wrong? Is it bad? Just because everyone’s doing it does it make it insincere? No and not necessarily. Aside from it’s origins as a Western Christian liturgical feast day in honor of St. Valentine (you had to go there…) and, oh, a massacre (and there?), it’s a commemorative day, a day to encourage those who were swiping left and right when they handed out the Romantic gene to step up and shine. So don’t mind me and people of my ilk who still mock the stuffed bears and boxes of chocolates with our complaints: “Roses were $12.99 yesterday and now…$59.99!” We might just be overcompensating, ok? We might be wishing for a the sweetness of days gone by…and longing for the days of little cards with candy hearts.
*written entirely in the “new event” calendar section of my iPhone 5