Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February is for Fluttering Hearts

Happy Valentine's Day!
This day always fascinates me.
 I'll start with a little history: I am truly blessed to come from a home full of love. Two parents, they met on a blind date when they were sixteen. My dad, actually proposed to my mom on their first, blind date, she of course thought that he was crazy but that didn't scare her off. Six years later, it turned out that they were both wildly crazy, crazy about each other. My dad proposed marriage to my mother, then was drafted (as I proudly mention) as a conscientious objector in the Vietnam War. My mom was here, in California, feverishly planning the wedding of her dreams and I'm sure, fighting grim fact that my father could have very likely never returned to her. A year of thousands of miles of separation, letters that seemed to take decades to arrive and the scarce phone call that was a third party call with the army, my parents had no easy form of communication. A year of tortured hearts, these were the times saturated in romance. Love is never easy, but for them, their romance was bare bones, no modern day luxuries to help them out, no Skype, no text, no email, just a good old fashion strong beat of the heart. My dad returned to California after a year in Vietnam, of course forever changed, but something has always told me he left the negative in Vietnam. I've never heard him talk about the horror he must have witnessed, only the beauty, the kindness of the people, the joy helping Vietnamese orphaned children and the beauty of the land. With this, he returned home, to my mothers love, and three days later, stood at the alter, at the wedding my mother planned. They have been married for 42 years, they created a strong, loving, happy family that has overcome hurdles of life and shared a blessed amount of the joys in life. They are the epitome of love, partnership and romance, I still to this day catch them secretly slow dancing in the kitchen and stealing flirtatious glances of one and other. This kind of love has been a blessing to watch. It's taught me so much, so much of what a real commitment to someone really means and what it takes to have a deep love with longevity, such a rare thing in the world today. Due to this love, Valentine's Day growing up, was always heavily celebrated. My parents made it a point to make it a family affair, getting us heartfelt cards and meaningful gifts and always having a family dinner together. It was our time to celebrate what made our bond so strong, our love that was derived from my parents amazing bond. This was all wonderful, until I became a young woman. Single for many, many years of my young adulthood, and the definitive hopeless romantic, what I saw from my parents became such an unobtainable thing in my mind. Dating loser after loser, sprinkled with the few good guys (just not good for me, guys) I became what every woman fears: the bitter Betsy. After Valentine's Day failures, or more appropriately, catastrophes, I grew to loathe the day and feel that what my parents had was so rare; I could never find it myself. I lived for the phone call with my parents on Valentine's Day and the sweet gestures of occasional flowers sent by family, for that is all I had for many, many Valentine's days. (This leads me to share, one of my all time favorite things to do, ask a woman, any woman, to recount their worst Valentine's Day. I guarantee, every woman has at least one terrible, horrific story, I for one have many that serve as wonderful entertainment now). Then are the years when you just give up. “Who needs a man? There are no good ones left. I’m a capable woman, I can go at life alone and be happy,” so was my inner dialogue for so many years. Honestly, some of the best Valentine's days, those were the nights spent with dear friends, most likely, single friends and most likely, lots and lots of hard alcohol. In this stage, it seems as though the world is against you, single person. Everyone around you in a relationship is disgustingly cheesy and overt about how much they are loved and how lucky they are. And there you are, with your scotch, you are a good person just clearly unlovable – though it feels society is saying to you on this day. It sucks, I wont lie, but we are all that single person at least one (some many more than one) Valentine’s Day.
So here I am, full circle, from hopeless romantic, the fun flirty happy single girl, the heartbroken single girl, the girl laughing hysterically -having cocktails with her girlfriends, the girl who feels she will be alone forever, the girl who really thinks life would be better as a lesbian (that’s how much she hates men), the strong heartbreak survivor and now, I just so happen to be the madly in love, elated girl. Back to my childhood happiness on Valentine's Day and just starting to really understand and really see that deep love that my parents have. I think it’s important on a day about love, to not only celebrate your love but embrace what brought you the love you have in your life, all forms of love and respect all people who are on their journey to finding love, whatever stage they may be in. I will try on this day not to be grotesque about my happiness, but to share it tastefully and to keep near and dear in my heart all of my life stages. For it is all of our experiences, that lead us to our destiny.
So, on that extremely personal and mushy note, I’ll switch over to the fun stuff. This year, Todd and I decided to celebrate low key. Both of us hate Valentine's Day, prix fixe menus, my experience is that the food is always twice the cost and half the flavor. Both of us, love the idea of celebrating our love, but steering away from the cheesy or the tacky that it seems America falls victim to on this day. We will be enjoying a casual, delicious meal together, some Schramsberg champagne and some tasty desserts. On a humorous note, we sent out the above silly little Valentine's Day cards to our loved ones, silly is perfect because we are definitely silly people. I saw the idea on Pinterest and got the template off of the internet (my attempt to give due credit). I wish everyone, a wonderful holiday filled with love, laughter and smiles.

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