Valentine’s Day has never been one of my favorite holidays. It has always been about waiting.
In elementary school, I waited for a secret admirer’s special valentine to magically appear on my desk while I was at recess. It didn’t. In high school, I waited outside the weight room for my long-time crush to emerge in his sweaty, muscular glory and sweep me off my feet. As he carried me through the fluorescent-lit halls of our public school, he would look deep into my eyes and say “Will you be my Valentine, babe?” He didn’t.
While Valentine’s Day was a constant romantic disappointment year after year, I never became one of those bitter people who hated Valentine’s Day. I never referred to it as “singles awareness day” or “hallmark holiday.” I loved seeing women get flowers. I loved seeing couples hold hands and grin at each other, stars in their eyes. I loved seeing it because I thought “someday that will be me.”
I waited, waited, and waited. Sure, there were times I had a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day, but it always felt phony. There was that one time my boyfriend made a huge heart out of candles in the middle of the street outside of my bedroom window at 2 am- romantic, right? If only it had been enough to compensate for his continuous verbal abuse and jealous fits of rage. It just never felt right.
But then something happened. I guess the Valentine Gods and maybe Cupid himself decided I had waited long enough. In 2008 I went on a Valentine’s Date that ended in an allergic reaction, cramps, and a grand finale of diarrhea, but the weird thing? It felt right. Well, the explosive diarrhea didn’t feel right, but the boy finally did.
He took care of me, he made me laugh, he held my hair back while I crapped my brains out. Okay, the last part isn’t true, but he handled the delicate situation of “new girlfriend with digestive emergency” like a champ. Seriously, he should get an award.
Since then, every Valentine’s Day for me has been full of excitement. Not because the boy showers me with 20-dozen roses or writes me love poems, but because I can be myself, and we can just be, and we are in love. I can eat so much for our Valentine’s dinner that I literally cry on the stairs in pain. And he takes the time to sneak in photos before bundling me up and making me “walk it out” around the neighborhood in 35 degree weather.
He writes me cards that say things like “I cant wait to spend the rest of my life with you, as long as our kids get my immune system we’ll be golden.” He builds me towers of frosted flakes to support my cereal binge eating habits and I give him non-romantic, maybe slightly creepy (but always creative) Valentine’s cards.
I waited for 20 years to find a Valentine worth sitting still for. Some people wait less time, some people wait a lot longer. But don’t lose hope and don’t settle, because when the wait is finally over, every single Valentine’s Day spent with your friends, roommate, dog, or even your half-dead goldfish (true story) feels worth it.
(And if you spend the rest of your life celebrating your Valentine’s Days with a canine companion or a feline friend, you can still consider yourself lucky. That’s unconditional love and certainly better than being in an unsatisfying, unfulfilling relationship. Tip: Just try to avoid spending VDay with a half-dead fish. Not satisfying.)