The Middle: To Valentine, or Not To Valentine


Admittedly, love me some flowers.image: momlifetoday.com

Admittedly, love me some flowers.
image: momlifetoday.com

I’ve shared before that Valentine’s Day has been a dilemma in our house for 26 years now.  Of course, I don’t mean this house; we’ve only lived in this house for 12 years… but for the 26 years that we’ve been married, as of this Valentine’s Day. Yes, we got married on Valentine’s Day, in 1987. Take a moment to either gag or coo. I know it warrants one or the other, depending on the moment (for me) or who is reading this. I will not rehash all the details again this year; you can read last year’s blog for that, and see the coo worthy photos, including my wedding pictures (Understatement of The Quarter Century, Or My Funny Valentine). There are a lot of Valentine’s blogs floating around out there, and given that it’s my anniversary, I felt like at least giving the day a wink and a nod.

Dressing up for the occasion!

Dressing up for the occasion!

I’ll say it again, because it’s a critical point: we did not get married on Valentine’s Day to be romantic. We did not get married on Valentine’s Day on purpose. You read that right; we didn’t even realize it would be Valentine’s Day, when we made the decision. Plain and simple, we got married on Valentine’s Day because we had a long weekend off from medical and grad school, and more importantly we got married on Valentine’s Day to stop our parents from running amok on our wedding plans. Old history, but man the story still gives me the willies. We were kids, and we were in way over our heads with our parents and their expectations, their desires, and what was happening with our day. So Smart Guy grabbed the reigns (bless his Valentine’s heart) and suggested February 13th (6 weeks away, at the time), and I—not even wondering if a wedding could be planned and pulled of in 6 weeks, while in a grueling Masters program— said yes. When I realized that thee 13th was Friday the 13th, that was not going to happen. I am a superstitious girl, all the way around. We agreed on the 14th, without even realizing what we were doing. Once we’d put our foot down (on all those red hearts), there was no turning back.

It's all in your attitude...

It’s all in your attitude…

Fast forward through twenty-six Valentine’s Day and the day now sends waves of anxiety through both me and Smart Guy, every year. What do you want to do for our anniversary? “Where do you think we can get a reservation?” And given the pressure on everyone else out there, who didn’t get married on this red hot day, we’d better be thinking waaaay ahead, if we want it to be special. It’s exhausting! It’s frustrating! It is not romantic. The stress outweighs the fun of planning, each year. Last year for our 25th, an anniversary that we both thought would be celebrated in Palau, or somewhere special, was spent at home: with 2 exchange students in the house, and just weeks after my mother died. It was not the occasion we’d anticipated. That night, we had dinner with a group of close friends and gave the day its due, but it was not entirely what we’d envisioned, for several years leading up to the occasion.

If we paint it red, it will be a healthy red...

If we paint it red, it will be a healthy red…

This year, we’re taking it easy. Dinner with friends— still in the planning stage. As little pressure as possible. After 26 years of marriage, and more than 30 years together, we’re focusing on making the marriage better, not celebrating a number. We’re ignoring all those red hearts and candy commercials, and addressing the next twenty-five years: what can we do to make it stronger? What’s next, with the kids gone (or almost gone) and our lives in transition? What do we each want now (individually and as a couple), in our 50s, versus what we wanted in our twenties, when we fell in love. It’s big stuff, and we’re taking a good hard look and choosing to not gloss over any of it with red.

I’ve read a dozen posts this week about Valentine’s Day: you love it, you hate it. We can all agree: it’s commercial and it can be overwhelming, the pressure and expectations of a day that should be about love. Shouldn’t every day be about love? Shouldn’t we do many of these things just because we want our relationships to be meaningful and honored? If I had it to do all over again, would I? Some of it yes, and some of it no, if truth be told.  But hindsight is 20/20.  I would change one thing for sure: We’d pick another day.

What’s your take on Valentine’s Day? Romantic or pressure? Embrace it or gag on it? Share your thoughts. Show some love, in honor of the day, and Like this post. Check out Tales From the Motherland on Facebook, and hit like.

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
This entry was posted in Honest observations on many things. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to The Middle: To Valentine, or Not To Valentine

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    My husband and I let the day pass by like any other day. No expectations of gifts or cards. We both think it’s silly, and that suits us fine. But that’s probably just because we’ve been married forever. I certainly don’t begrudge those who dig the day. They are far more romantic than me. 🙂

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  2. Every day may be about love, but Valentine’s Day is about chocolate. It’s like Halloween for grownups. While my wife loves chocolate, I prefer cinnamon bears (because they are red) and candy hearts, because they’re just Necco wafers in a different shape. Mmm! 🙂
    Happy Anniversary!

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  3. Our wedding anniversary is 2/10, and I told my wife when we got married, Valentines Day is over. Hahaha, not really, but also not really not. Happy Anniversary to you.

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    • Happy Anniversary to you as well Bill! Glad to see you on my page… and lucky you! If we’d just done it a little earlier, or a little later, we would not be in such a rut every year! Thanks for stopping by and sharing a thought. 🙂

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  4. I can go both ways depending what my situation is. My husband usually bought a huge bouquet of flowers for me – and by, “usually,” I mean, for the past 27 years. So this year I think I’ll buy myself a killer bouquet to beat all bouquets!! Bwahahaha! Well, it’s the only thing I can think of. It will be an “I love you!” to myself. I like it. I’m sticking with it. 🙂

    Happy Anniversary, friend!! (I wouldn’t have thought about the dinner reservation difficulty either!) You and Smart guy rock Valentine’s Day and have yourselves a lovely evening. 🙂

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    • ABSOLUTELY buy that bouquet! Better yet, order it now, today, and have it delivered! You’re already late for that dance, and it will be hard to find them tomorrow! (See, this is what I’m talking about!). But, do it Lisa!! I know there’s a twinge (maybe much more) of pain to it all, for you, this year… but kick that one out of the park. Hugs.

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  5. Congrats on your anniversary. It’s our engagement anniversary and I think it’s sort of corny too. But it was my husband’s mother’s birthday and important for him. We had hoped to go cross country skiing in New Hampshire that weekend but my grandmother died and we returned to CT for the funeral. So it’s sort of bittersweet. And of course my grandkids don’t celebrate it so there isn’t even the fun parts of valentines or making heart-shaped cookies and cakes. Alas.

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    • Such bittersweet ties to this holiday Lisa! I didn’t realize that Orthodox Jews don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day (??). Eek. No that it’s such an important holiday, but I was just telling a friend that my kids always made it more fun! Thanks for sharing your VD memories. 🙂

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  6. L. Palmer says:

    My parents shared their anniversary with my sister and her husband for the same reason: Three day weekend, so enough time off school to squeeze the wedding in and move on to an awesome life together. My parents are coming up on #36 and my sister is on #2 as of Monday. Congratulations on a happy life together!

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    • Thanks! I appreciate you stopping by the blog, and taking the time to share your thoughts! So sweet of your parents to share their special day! That is something! I hope you’ll check out some other posts, and let me know what you think. Much appreciated! 🙂

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  7. Valery says:

    I’m not a writer, but I do love to read – especially your blog posts, and the wonderful, witty comment threads. Happy dual celebration day to you! One is just for fun and one is just for the 2 of you. Thank you for sharing! (Oh, and VD Day? Haha, my former initials 😛 )

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  8. Dawn, thanks for sharing your story.:) It’s important to reexamine goals in relationships…good for you and your husband.
    For me, every day is an opportunity to share love and friendship with every person I touch, whether it is my husband (we celebrated 45 years of marriage last August and we dated for 4 years before that), family, friends or online buddies and acquaintances. So we don’t do much for Valentine’s Day that we don’t do every day. Our relationship is a real one…with moments of angst…and sometimes anger…woven into the happy and loving fabric…with the years and the experiences, that fabric has grown softer, yet stronger.

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  9. My anniversary is the 20th. I have it tattooed on my arm so I don’t forget. Just checked. It’s the 21st! Good thing I got that tattoo. (Seriously. It’s there!) HF

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  10. We don’t do a lot for V Day. I usually will grab a card for The Captain, but that is about it. Right now, V Day is about the dudes. Last night it felt as if we spent a million hours on Valentines for their classes. Hope all of their classmates enjoyed the Spider-Man erasers that didn’t fit well in the little, itty, bitty envelopes!

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    • Oh how I remember those days! Those Valentines were so fun at times, and so very miserable at others! My boys were not that into it, so it was like pulling teeth to get them to Like or Love anyone in their class! I think it did in fact take a million hours Jean! Thanks for stopping by! Happy VD. 🙂

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