A Revealing Valentines

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This Valentine's Day was an enlightening one for me. While I in no way am a "Valentine's Scrooge", my feelings about this holiday and others like it were brought to light, and I was really forced to examine the deeper meaning behind my lack of festive commitment.

Don't get me wrong: I celebrated the Day, just not quite up to par with the rest of society, the other pre school moms, or my old self.

Ways I acknowledged The Day Of Love:

1.) I bought Caroline a new Pink Nightgown, Fancy Nancy's Valentines Book, and let her open both and use both the Eve of Valentines and Valentines night.

2.) Bought and Baked Pillsbury Valentines Cookies, let Caroline eat some for breakfast on Valentines day. Let Ryan eat some for breakfast on Valentines day.

3.) I wore my red dress, and dressed Caroline in pink and read hearts with Valentines bows to honor the day.

4.) I had a Diet Coke waiting on Ryan's desk when he got to work with a little "love" note to start the day.

5.) Paid for our Fancy Chinese Take Out ( because eating out on Vday is just ridiculous)

6.) I have had pink, white, and red M&M's out on display to munch on, all month.

Ways I FAILED to honor Valentine's Day:

1.) Though I did provide drinks, I did not have Caroline take "Valentine's Cards" to her preschool party, which supposedly is ASSUMED that they should do, seeing how she came home with a bag containing a card from every classmate. Some mom's even stepped it up and MADE their child's Valentine's Cards including sweet pictures of them, all decorated in red and pink with stickers. While I am ALL for Classmate Valentine's, something about doing it before the children can sign their own name MUCH LESS read the cards, seems a little over zealous. All Caroline cared about was the candy,stuff animals from her grandparents, and balloon my grandparents got her. Those cards will be trashed, and I will be left to feel like I let her down, even though everyone else's cards got trashed as well. (Of course I'm SURE there is some mom out there creating a wall size time piece of every 'first Valentine' their child received. Again... over zealous.)

2.) I did not provide "Teacher Gifts". Yes I know I could have sent a gift set of bath products with no cost to myself. I understand that they work hard, and honoring our teacher's is something to be done. But, first you bring for the teacher, then you have to bring for the assistant, and the after school aid, and Caroline's favorite teacher from last year, and you can't forget the principal if your going to bring for all the teachers, and pretty soon you have a full blown Christmas Like gift giving frenzie and all for what... to say "I Love You" to teachers who she won't even be able to recall in 5 years? So please do me a favor: at the beginning of the school year please specify which holiday's I need to bring a teacher gift to, and which holiday's we are going to allow the teachers' families to celebrate with them instead.

3.) I did not buy, make, or send Ryan anything on February 14th. This- of all failures- is one that actually saddens me more than anything. Initially I looked at some little things here and there that I could get him for Valentines Day, all of which seemed cheesy and not "Courtney Like". Courtney like involves hand made, with glitter and stickers, hearts and colorful print. It involves quotes and paint, and one of a kind gift giving. Normal Courtney gifts include small surprises all day, and something special to wrap it all up, but for some reason NORMAL Courtney wasn't here this Valentines Day. Maybe it's the stress from all the crazy life stuff going on right now. Maybe it was the lack of time to plan and execute with all the traveling, shuffling, and working lately. We had agreed not to buy each other gifts, so maybe it was my overconfidence in this agreement, and that it was what we both really wanted, But whatever the reason, I couldn't get past the fact that February 14th is just a day on the Calendar and in no way could anyone be sad about not receiving on such an "over" celebrated holiday. I justified all my Valentines Faults on this concept alone.

Today: February 15th- I think I'm starting to experience the enlightenment.

Once I really started to think about my this year I have been particularly "un-festive", the reason became clear, and the excuses I have made about it started to pile up. It has dawned on me that the reason I "don't make a big deal about ______(fill in the blank with holiday)" is because I have learned this: putting effort in to what you give, doesn't always mean the effort will be a) appreciated or b) reciprocated. I feel like I have spent a lot of time and effort on what I give people in the past on these little special days, and really never experienced those above mentioned things in return. Selfish. That's what I have been this year. I have learned that when you expect nothing, then nothing can disappoint you. This is a selfish mind set.
(how I feel sometimes ha!)

This train of thinking explains so much of my behavior this past year its unreal. Christmas- for example, with the exception of the Tree (which I procrastinated putting up, left un-decorated for weeks, and promptly took down), I had no decorations. It was a stretch to even get name tags on my presents, let alone cute wrapping and fun bows. I didn't even do a stocking for Caroline because I didn't have her Christmas morning, and didn't get her back home until that night. Clearly Valentines was not super celebrated either.


I hate the way I have become about holidays and birthdays. I have used excuses so much the past few months, but the truth is, I haven't celebrated, because I feel like I'm doing it alone. Caroline has no concept of these days, and up until now, I was the only person ever in my apartment to enjoy the decor. I actually love the holidays! I love the fun crafts, the festive colors, and the fun little gifts and traditions. I need to stop looking at these things as something that needs to be appreciated by anyone but me. If I enjoy doing it, the return shouldn't matter. I want to share those fun things with Caroline, and now Ryan too, and I'm ready to be out of this unfestive funk!

I did send Ryan some fun treats to the office today, with a note saying "...because I love you as much on February 15th as I do on February 14th..." I'm tired of resisting excitement because I don't want to be disappointed, so I have decided to add this self written quote to my 'things to remember'

We can not let our fear of being 'Under Appreciated', keep us from 'Over Appreciating' those around us, less we just may 'Under Appreciate' ourselves along the way.

In conclusion of my enlightenment, sometimes we have to forget about who is going to appreciate the things we do, and do them anyway. As long as you appreciate the work you are performing, then those who love you will too.

...and that my Dear, was all she wrote...


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