Valentine’s, then and now

February 15, 2013 |  Category:   family holidays life remembering



Miss C left this box for me on my bed side table last night, instructing me to open it in the morning. I usually sleep in on Thursdays since it’s the one day of the week that Mark walks the girls to school, so she knew that she probably wasn’t going to see me in the morning. Truth is, she made this Valentine’s Day box way back in November and hid it among her things until last night. She likes to plan ahead like that, although Mark just got a note on a green post-it. When asked why he only got a post-it when I got a box of treasures, she replied that she didn’t have enough time because of all the Valentines that she had to make for all her classmates.


So when did Valentine’s Day become another Halloween? The kids came home with cards and all sorts of candy collected from their classmates and dumped them on the floor to sort and look through. I guess the good thing about it is the mandatory rule of bringing a Valentine to everyone if you plan on handing our Valentines. We didn’t have such rules when I was a kid. I still remember how dreadful Valentine’s Day was back in high school. Like many schools back then, some adult thought it’d be a good idea to give teenagers an opportunity to give out roses for their girlfriends/boyfriends/secret crushes during homeroom period. It was the one day of the year in the years of teenage angst where your relationship status or lack thereof was made public and flaunted. Yeaaaah, really great idea. All the popular kids carried around their multiple roses like a status badge that proved just how popular they were. Couples sent each other flowers; the rest of us unloved ones walked around rose-less and everyone knew it, unless you made a secret pact with your girlfriends before hand to send each other sympathy roses so you didn’t look like a complete loser sitting there empty handed during homeroom when the roses were handed out. My high school was a big school – there were about 700 kids in my graduating class so the cliques and social groups were varied and deep, but it didn’t matter if you were a jock, a cheerleader, a brainy nerd, a rocker or an arty goth freak. Valentine’s Day had a way of crossing social lines and making anyone feel awkward and annoyed. High school. It was carefree, but oh so complicated and full of angst all at once.


Valentine’s Day never was a holiday that I embraced or liked, despite the fact that I have either been in relationships or married for the past 23 Valentines. Mark and I have never really celebrated it and if you’re in the restaurant industry then you would be working that evening anyway, just as he did for pretty much every Valentine’s Day up until we started the business. But like a lot of things, it’s taken up a new meaning now that we have kids. I think Mia’s beginning to move away a little from all the lovey hearts and such, but Miss C is still all over it, although both girls kinda sighed after making their 20th Valentine with a few more to go.

When I asked Claudine why she liked Valentine’s Day so much, she replied that it’s a day where we get to love each other a little more. I told her that I loved her the same on this day, just as I did everyday.
She didn’t really care for that answer.

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  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag February 15, 2013 at 2:49 am

    My 6 yr old adores Valentine’s Day. She just is happy all day long. She loves the cards, loves the CANDY (sigh) and is just SO SO into the whole shebang. It’s really sweet to watch, how into it she is.

  • Helle February 15, 2013 at 4:10 am

    Wow, you started off a whole lot of thoughts with that post. I am not a fan of “organised” celebration days. Growing up we had Christmas and Easter – not because we’re religous but because those were the two big holidays. Now it’s Valentine, Halloween, people have started doing Thanksgiving and lately Super Bowl – in bleeding Denmark for God’s sake. Then there is, of course Mother’s and in later years Father’s Day – now why should I like my parents better just because it’s one of those days? My brother would dutifully bring our mum a flower, he never had much time for her otherwise. Sorry, sound like a real grump here! But whatever one thinks of these days, the card from Claudine was really sweet.

  • elaineG February 15, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Hubs and I don’t celebrate it either, we’re too homey to bother and everyday is our love day :) But I will be more than please to receive flowers now and then!

  • Tina February 15, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Wow, Claudine’s writing and drawings are very mature for a 6 year old. And I noticed that she’s even doing cursive. I volunteer at my son’s first grade class, so I notice these things. :) Cute post!

  • krystal/village February 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    haha its funny that she didn’t like that answer. i can only imagine!

  • Candace February 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Claudine is so cool…..

  • Nina February 15, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    we had the same thing at our high school, and I’m pretty sure high schools still do something similar. It’s usually some sort of fundraising activity for some on-campus club. /hate hate hate.

    But I love Valentine’s Day…not for celebrating with my SO (we avoid going out to dinner on that night bc it just sucks…it feels like going to eat at an assembly line, food is overpriced and overcooked, etc.) but when I was growing up, my mom would write us love notes and gifts of heart-shaped rocks or a bit of candy and leave them by our doors to find in the morning. I always remember what a lovely and heart-warming surprise that was each year.

    And now, I take it as an extra opportunity to show my loved ones a little bit of extra love. For me, it’s not about loving anybody more than any other day, it’s about taking the opportunity to show them that love just a bit extra. Like my mom, I left notes and candy for my sons, gave a flower to to my son’s teachers, the staff at their school, to their babysitter, called my parents and grandmothers just to say I love you, etc. I don’t know…a little extra “I love you’s” can’t hurt, right? :)

  • Jeanne February 15, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I had to chuckle to myself because my middle school aged son has a “girlfriend”. (I put that in quotes because they have no idea what they’re doing and can hardly bear to talk to each other face to face) Well, neither of them got each other a Valentine yesterday. I asked him if either of them was disappointed. He replied “Well Mom, we broke up. It was the tipping point”. Hmm…apparently so. Ahhh being 12.

  • Nancy February 15, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Ugh…hated that stupid carnation tradition.

    By the way, I sent the valentine’s cookies to a friend of mine who has been cooped up since before Christmas with a new baby and they totally made her day. She hid them from her husband but saved me some to taste. Delish. :)

  • Rui (Ree) February 15, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Valentine’s day can be stressful day in general. But, it was ten times worse in high school. Especially if you were blatantly single. Reading your post reminded my of times me and my girlfriends would send each other Valentines gifts. Even though if none of those gifts had a romantic tint to them, it was still nice to know you had dear enough friends to do that for you.

    And Ms. C’s response to you answer is hilarious. 6 year olds, what can you do? Haha

  • cantaloupe February 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    My high school had the whole buying flowers for people, but mostly girls bought them for their friends. I don’t think boys even realized it was going on, haha.

    Valentine’s Day can be cute if you don’t think about it too hard.

  • Dee February 19, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I had totally forgotten about how mortifying that Valentine’s Day flower thing was in high school. That and birthday balloons. It starts even earlier now… my elementary school age kids have the option to send a candygram to their friends.

  • Sora February 19, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Love those notes from Claudine. So very sweet. I am also very impressed with her writing skills. I hated Valentines Day during high school as well as college. I do remember sulking one night at home during my jr. year of high school and my Dad actually brought home a card and a box of chocolates for my Mom and I. That was HUGE for my Korean father to do and I did get a chuckle out of the card which had something to do with competing with a teenage daughter for phone time. Ya know, back when there was one phone (landline) per household.

  • lisa February 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Gday, loved this post! As an aussie gal… sometimes I read lovely american blogs until I see how crazy overboard they go with things like valentines day! Somehow it just comes across as a competition for craftiness…. i like your approach best!

  • Clara February 20, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Jenna- just catching up on many of your posts after a long time away from your blog (because of work and life, you know!). But just wanted to say how gorgeous those girls are! And Claudine, love how she’s still all over Valentine’s Day- so sweet. Had me laughing though, reading that Mark only got left with a post it! Ha… oh dads.

  • Fiona February 20, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    We had the same thing at my high school except with chrysanthemums instead of roses. I remember feeling super bummed out one year in particular and the Italian teacher said to me, “Chrysanthemums?? That’s what we give out during funerals in Italy!! This is ridiculous!” I felt much better :) lol