I'm not good with surprises. Recently I found out that this is because of my temperament. Part of my temperament is something called "Negative First Reaction," which means that when plans change, I don't like it, even if the change is something that otherwise would be good. So I'll say no first. Every time.
I'm not very girly. Never have been. In some ways I am--I like taking care of people and animals, I dance, and (now) I knit. But I don't style my hair or wear makeup and I don't like typically girly gifts like jewelry and flowers. Actually, I hate cut flowers. To me, it's like killing something and then giving it to me so that I can watch it die. I don't mind flowers if they're a gift from a new acquaintance who has come over for dinner, but as a sign of love they're just awful.
I HATE pressure. I can't stand being expected to do something. I always want to do the opposite, and then I feel like I'm only doing the opposite because I was pressured and that's just reacting to pressure which is no better than giving in to pressure. You can imagine what middle school and high school were like for me as a result.
And putting these three facts about me together, you can anticipate how I feel about Valentine's Day.
I've never had a good one. That's not true. In tenth grade I got a pink carnation from the boy I liked and he asked me out. That was pretty awesome, even if it was the start of the most disastrous relationship of my life. But I enjoyed Valentine's Day. But since then: no good ones.
Sometimes I was sad because I was single. There were mitigating circumstances sometimes--once in my twenties I went out to dinner with a bunch of girlfriends and that was fun, but I still felt like a pathetic singleton.
Other times, there was too much pressure. Freshman year of college I spent the day with my boyfriend. I felt like everything had to be perfect--after all, it was Valentine's Day, and we were the perfect couple--and it wasn't and I felt like a failure.
Then there were the times when I was in a less than perfect relationship and Valentine's Day made that abundantly clear.
I spent one Valentine's Day weekend at a funeral.
Finally, I tried ignoring the day completely, but then I felt left out of everything and that made it even worse.
So now, Hopper and I have a deal. He gives me something chocolate that I love (this year it was dark chocolate-covered pretzels) and then we say nothing more about it. It's just the right amount of attention for me: I'm not left out of things, but there's no pressure. And nothing girly.
I did get a pink, heart-covered card this year, but it was from Boo, and it says "Mom is cool" on the back. Boo also told me that she worked hard on it and she's really proud of it. THAT kind of attention I can enjoy.