Julie Seedorf: Bah humbug, it’s another Valentine’s Day

Published 9:51 am Monday, February 13, 2017

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at hermionyvidaliabooks@gmail.com.

Bah Humbug, it’s Valentine’s Day. I am joking when I say that because Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday — not because I always get a valentine or am remembered by anyone, but I love the concept of love and spreading that feeling. I grew up in a time when fairy tales told of princesses and finding your Prince Charming. The idea of love was romantic and exciting.

Then we turned into adults and found out that there are not always fairy tale endings and our Prince Charmings do not come dressed as princes. I know many men and women who would say “Bah Humbug” to Valentine’s Day. I suspect a few women are saying it so they aren’t disappointed if their someone special doesn’t remember. You can’t be hurt if you don’t acknowledge that you care about the day.

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I used to work in a drug store and a Hallmark store. We would watch women come in over the weeks before the special day and lovingly choose a card and a gift. Some would remark, “He probably won’t remember but that’s OK. I still wanted to do something special for him.”

We always stayed open later on Valentine’s Day because all we would have to do was point to the back of the store where the cards were when the men came in in the final hours to quickly snatch a card or a gift. There were always plenty of cards for the men to choose, but there were not many left for the women to buy on the day.

You may think I am picking on men. I really am not. There are some men who know how to show appreciation to the women they love. And I can’t speak as to men feeling left out because I am not one.

In case you don’t get it — all the hoopla surrounding the day — it isn’t about the card or the gift itself. It is about showing your appreciation to a woman or a man who has made a difference in your life. It is saying thank you for being a partner, a mom, a cook, a toilet cleaner and a nurse for sick kids in the middle of the night. It is acknowledging to your partner “you are just as beautiful as when I met you, inside and out.” It is about thanking a mom for always being there for you. It is about friendship and showing you value that friendship by taking the time to do something special for that person. Love is making someone feel special and cared by your actions and the way you treat that person year-round.

But here is the other point I would like to make. If you are buying a valentine for a person out of obligation, because your spouse might be mad if you forget, or as an afterthought because it is expected, then it invalidates all the reasons Valentine’s Day is a special day. The day is about giving from the heart and not expecting anything back.

I know women who buy their own Valentine’s gift because they know they will not be remembered by their spouse. So she takes time for herself to make herself feel special. I know a woman who once told me she hadn’t had a valentine since her husband died. These women were smiling when they said it but I could feel the loss and the loneliness they felt

There are others who just say having each other is enough. I suspect those are the lucky ones who feel every day is Valentine’s Day because they feel appreciated. And they found their princes and princesses.

Happy Valentine’s Day. I wish you a day of feeling love, appreciation and kindness. Spread a joy that comes from the heart. The joy you spread may open someone’s heart and take away their bah humbug feeling enough that their heart will feel like passing love and joy onto someone else. Love makes the world go round.