On Valentines

Dear Amy,

What can be said that already hasn’t been said about Valentines Day?  Yep, it’s a dumb made-up holiday, and yep, I say that partially because I’m defending my own feelings against the notion of a day that celebrates something I don’t have.  And I suppose, want, ultimately.  I’m certainly not as reactionary to Mothers Day or Fathers Day, but that could be because I’ve never much desired to be a parent.  I wonder if those who are childless but very much want not to be feel the same way about THOSE days as I do about Valentine’s Day: as a reminder of dreams deferred.  I think about when I was a kid, and Valentines Day was a bit more exciting and mysterious: everyone gave everyone else little cards, and the truly brave among us could use this opportunity to slip in a romantic overture.  I can dig on a day that’s about surprises and secret admirers.  I could live in anticipation of such a holiday.  But the grown-up version of Valentines Day seems to lack that element of surprise, at least when one is single and seemingly prospectless. For me, past-dweller that I am, it reminds me only of the last time I had a truly legitimate reason to be excited about Valentines Day, almost four years gone now.  Recalling the salad days of that particular relationship leads  fairly quickly into the loss of the relationship, and how cruddy and sad it all was, and who wants to be reminded of that?  So I join the ranks of the VDay haters, because no one likes to be reminded that they have failed at something they really hoped would succeed.

The thing that I hear over and over again from friends is that if I REALLY wanted to be in a relationship, I could be.  So, I don’t really want one, apparently?  Does this explain away the last four years?  I’ve had (if memory serves) maybe two or three real shots at making something casual into something serious, and each time there’s been a roadblock that has prevented anything lasting from forming.  Even the most lovely people can become bothersome, and I find it a terribly difficult obstacle to see around.  A more forgiving version of myself may have long ago been nicely boyfriended up with cats and a garden, if not for that.  But, I’m awfully particular, so I don’t know that anyone will ever pop up with the right combination of things I need, and, you know, ALSO live in the same state.  And be of a similar age.  And not already be in a couple, or an emotionally unavailable mess, or a secret lothario, or, saddest of all, nice but kind of lame.   I look around at my increasing number of well-coupled or married friends and equal number of divorced friends and I cannot see a formula to follow.

Do you ever watch Parks and Recreation?  Last year there was a wedding between two of the main characters, Andy, lovable doofus, and April, whose chief characteristic is that everything in the world annoys her.  April’s vows consisted of this one sentence: “I guess I kinda hate most things, but I never really seem to hate you.  So, I want to spend the rest of my life with you, is that cool?”

That is literally the most romantic thing I have ever heard in my life.

love,
Annie

Dear Annie,

I don’t know what to say about Valentine’s Day, because I don’t know what to say about much these days. I am deep in Babyland. I forget words, forget thoughts halfway through. I’ve subconsciously been shunning it, because I haven’t been able to come up with a good gift idea for my husband this year, and he surely deserves one. He’s like, Husband of the Year, remaining calm and patient as I sob uncontrollably about how sweet the baby is, or that I don’t want to go to back to work, or because SOME DAY SOME ONE is going to be mean to our baby. It’s…weird.

Mostly, I am fighting the notion of my Valentine’s Day present to Jason being something “from Violet.” This is part of Babyland. We have started calling each other Mommy and Daddy, despite having had an ACTUAL CONVERSATION where we vowed we wouldn’t, despite the fact that I strongly dislike the word “Mommy.” We stare at the baby. We talk about the baby. We talk FOR the baby. We make the baby do things, and then we talk about those things. When the baby naps, sometimes we show each other pictures of the baby we took on our phones, even though she’s LAYING RIGHT THERE IN OUR ARMS. More than once, we’ve delightedly watched video of the baby while she slept. It’s…weird.

I guess it’s human nature? It’s scientifically proven, my brain has shrunk. I think this is so I can JUST focus on the baby, which makes sense, but honestly, it’s a little…um, weird? (My vocabulary is, at most, a quarter the size it once was.)

It’s my hope — and I’m feeling pretty optimistic — that at some point I will be interested in something other than the baby. I’ll have my own thoughts and desires. I’ll be able to be separated from this little being. For now, I’m just rolling with it. Because, while, rationally (and certainly socially), it’s absurd and annoying, emotionally, it’s the better than the best thing I could ever think of. And it’s already going so fast.

So yeah, Valentine’s Day. Probably Jason and I will just do something totally disgusting, like pass the baby back and forth, saying “Happy Valentine’s Day” each time, each time making her MORE of a gift. And giggling. I’d hate us if I wasn’t so happy. Weird.

Love,
Amy

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2 thoughts on “On Valentines

  1. Wohh precisely what I was looking for, thanks for putting up.

  2. You “sob uncontrollably about how sweet the baby is, or that I don’t want to go to back to work, or because SOME DAY SOME ONE is going to be mean to our baby.” SO DAMNED TRUE. Thanks for this. Touring daycare programs this week, I am. And apparently e-stalking you thanks to Facebook. I hear you, sister, I hear you.

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