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Valentine’s Day Soapbox

I don’t hate Valentine’s Day.  In-fact I quite like it.  A day to think about love, and what you love, who you love, why you love.  Most days many of us forget to stop and take a second to think about those things, and so I appreciate the idea of being surrounded by it and being forced in a way to at least give it a moment of thought.  I’m not saying this because I am in love, while I am and I am eternally grateful I’ve been given that gift, I’ve always appreciated the day for what it is aside from the mushy gushy lovers thing.

However, I have found myself saying to Ryan now and then “aren’t you happy I’m not a crazy girl forcing you to do crazy things on days like today?” Or, “I’m so happy I’m not one of those girls.”  And my favorite, “I feel bad for the guys who got stuck with girls who have expectations for the valentines day……or Christmas, or New Years, or Birthdays, or Anniversaries.”  I sort-of started to feel like the grinch of the oh so coveted hearts-day.    But I’m pretty sure I’m not.

I like our celebrations.  They are perfect for us.  Filled with sarcasm, firsts, and always love.  Ryan and I don’t exchange gifts for anything really–often we will do birthdays, but it’s usually a box filled with boxers and socks, or a predetermined game.  Instead we decided at the very beginning of our relationship that if we wanted to do anything for Valentine’s day it would have to be home-made, and that if Christmas gifts were a must we’d have to buy a joint gift that we want.  But really our lives are so filled with material goods and we have been so lucky with what we’ve gotten in our lives, we see no need to put the pressure on to buy something for one another-and spend money.

Having done this for 6 years now, I can’t imagine doing anything else.  It wouldn’t seem as authentic.  I don’t even like getting flowers.  Don’t get me wrong, I am the first to swoon when I hear the romantics my friends take part in and I cry when I watch a good love story.  I love romance–but if I’m being honest I wouldn’t know how to act if something of the sort happened to me, and I’d gamble that I’d be quite uncomfortable.  I just don’t understand the need to make every holiday so extravagant and expect your partner to spend money.  I can’t think of a celebration in which that is warranted (although I LOVE buying and making and giving gifts at Christmas).  I actually think that if for anyone the celebration should be to people other than your partner or spouse, because in a perfect world you would be showing each other your gratitude, respect, and love for one another EVERY day…not just on select holidays.  For example, I typically send a card and candy to my family because I don’t get to celebrate them everyday, and I love them.

That being said, I do believe in celebrating yourself, and your relationship.  And surprises are great.  And who doesn’t love getting a gift now and then?  But I like our celebrations.

This was my <3’s day.

While I was gathering cards for my family I came across a card that I couldn’t pass up for Ryan.  We don’t usually buy cards for each other, but this is a special year for us, and it was listed under “Fiance” and it was a little mushy and sappy and so I couldn’t pass it up.  I wrote him a little note and stuck it by the bathroom sink for him to find when he woke.

And then I spent my day baking….

and heckling politics and sitting depressed about the state of Wisconsin on the couch until he came home.

He said “do you know what I learned at work today?”

And I said “what?”

And he said, “people in my office don’t like Scott Walker!”

And we both laughed and instantly I snapped out of my funk.  This year we decided that we’d make dinner and dessert for each other for Valentine’s day.  Ryan got dibbs on dinner, and I was to make dessert.  This was determined about a month before the day, needless to say as the day got closer we both started asking the other questions–I asked Ryan for a “direction” to go in for dessert.  He was quick to decide on some type of brownie.  “Brownies? Really?” was my exact response.  In my mind I was whipping up some fabulous cobbler topped with a crumb of sorts or a layered cake or something, anything, not brownies.

And then the Saturday before Valentine’s day, Ryan stated that while he knew what he was going to make, he had never made it before and never even tried it before.  He knew I loved it but in fear of messing it up he said “I think I need to get one of those heart shaped pizzas from Papa Murphy’s as backup.”  After I giggled, I said “I love pizza!” And I had already figured out he was making my fav Eggplant Parmesan.  (He’s so cute).

And so the cooking ensued.

However, it didn’t take long for us to realize the special sauce we bought from Brennan’s was not going to be enough.  Luckily we live a five minute walk from the store.  So I offered to head out and grab another jar while Ryan handled the kitchen.  It was the most BEAUTIFUL evening, so naturally I grabbed my camera, through on my boots, and was on my way. I love where we live.  I reveled in my love for the neighborhood, as I do so often:

And then I got back home, and spent a minute looking through the window by our garage, and couldn’t help but smile as I saw my cats, and my love sitting in the living room knowing my favorite meal was in the oven and my favorite wine had been poured.

I noticed the salad wasn’t made so I whipped the bag of lettuce out of the oven and threw it on the stove…not realizing the burner was still hot.  And so after a little argument about my stupidity, we made the salad and got the plates out and served our selves up a little Valentine’s day dinner.  🙂

And it was perfect.  We drank the whole bottle of wine, and licked our plates dry.  And we have eggplant (and a heart shaped pizza) for the rest of the week.

A few hours later, we were ready for dessert, brownies and Ricky Gervais, yum!!

So I challenge you.. get outside the big box and step into a small one to celebrate your days… put aside the jewelry and step into reality.

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