In the years I wasn’t dating, it was a reminder how boring and lonely the single life could be.
When I was dating, it was a reminder of how society defines (and some cases demands) certain behavior. The holiday added more anxiety and stress to my life…the stress of picking the right token gift or flower, the right gift to show how much I loved (or lusted for) a woman, etc. then there were questions of how much to spend, and whether I appeared needy or cheap.
It’s just an exhausting holiday.
I’m not the only one that thinks so, either….our friend over at the “Simple. I Just Do.” blog is tired of all the stuff, too.
I stopped at the florist this morning to pick up a Valentine’s gift for my wife, Momma Bird.
“A dozen red and white roses, please”, I said.
“We don’t sell just flowers, anymore,” said the florist, as he suppressed the condescending sneer that most florists seem to have mastered. “You have to buy an arrangement.”
Conveniently for the florist, arrangements started at $70. I politely declined, left the shop, and felt that anxiety of Valentine’s Day gift-giving growing stronger by the minute.
I stopped off at a gas station to fill the tank. While there, a middle-aged woman approached me and asked if I was ready for Valentines Day. I smiled – a sales pitch was coming.
“Yes, I’m all set,” I lied.
“Well, I have something for you to add to the phenomenal gift you’ve gotten your wife.” She knew I was lying.
She reached her hand into the giant gift bag she was carrying, and pulled out an oversized green plastic champagne glass, loaded with candies in red wrappers. It looked like a rose, in a creative sort of way.
“Ten dollars,” she said, in a way that convinced me she needed a sale.
I didn’t want the “stuff”, but I couldn’t say no to someone who was just trying to make a buck by doing something really creative.
“I tell ya’ what I’ll do,” I said, pulling a $10 bill from my wallet. “Sometime today, you are going to see someone who really needs a smile. Give them one of your gifts, and tell them Happy Valentine’s Day from a stranger. So you don’t lose money, I’ll pay you for the gift.”
She didn’t quite know what to do with that – it felt like charity, but the kind she really couldn’t turn down.
She took the ten dollar bill, agreed that she’d help out that stranger if she ran into him, and we both went on our way. She may never gift away the gift to someone else, but I don’t care. I got to help someone out, without bringing home more stuff, and without making them feel small or less-than.
As for my wife, I’ll find a way to make sure she knows how much I love her today.
But what I do know is that no amount of stuff can tell her how much I love her, and how much better my life has been since we met.
I love you, babe. Even on the days you drive me up a wall, I am the luckiest man in the world.
Feel free to share the Little Bird sketch from today with someone you love. Right click, attach it to an email, and send it with a note that tells that person what they mean to you.