Thursday, February 14, 2013

Will You Be Your Valentine?

Ah, Valentine’s Day. The day we are forced to feel guilty if we don’t properly express our feelings for our one true love and/or the day to feel completely unworthy when no one makes an effort to express feelings for us.

I’ve been at both extremes when it comes to the importance I put on Valentine’s Day.  The most important years were in high school, you know, when it’s almost necessary to get a gift and have validation that YES, someone other than your mom and dad (if you are blessed) think you’re kind of cute and worth spending time with.

Then I entered my 20’s, when the real man hating begins. Valentine’s Day became a day of expected disappointment.  I had all 3 of my only serious boyfriends through my 20’s.  The first one was great about sending me flowers every valentine’s day, which, I in turn thought was pretty dumb. I mean, why buy me roses today that cost twice as much as they would have just last week? Oh yeah, and they will die, really, really fast.  Just being in my presence decreases the life expectancy of all shrubbery. Jewelry, clothes, shoes...these things cost just as much and last a hell of a lot longer.

Then I had a boyfriend whose first valentine’s gift to me was a box of chocolates (I am not a candy person) and a card that he didn’t even bother to sign. These were given to me at about oh, 7:30 on Valentine’s night, for which we had absolutely no plans. You can tell it was a last minute thought as he paid for his gum on his way out of the drug store.  I was highly disgusted and offended. I remember all I kept saying was, “Elmer’s Chocolates? Don’t they ALSO make glue???” Yes, I can be a real butt when I want to, but that is totally beside the point.

Now my very last boyfriend , Mr. LSM was SUPER romantic. And he was romantic all the time, not just when he was “supposed” to be. That, of course, lasted until our first child together. You see, once you get married and become a parent, no matter how romantic you may be, you are just too tired.  All. The. Time. So, your only options are to either slowly hate the person you love because they no longer do back flips when you enter the room OR you can start noticing the OTHER ways love is shown.   Yes, overpriced roses, chocolate, and stuffed animals doomed to become a breeding ground for dust mites are not the only ways to express true love. There are other ways.

What kind of things mean LOVE to me nowadays?

  • Coming home and telling me to "Get out of the house." So I can have a break without the kids. Or maybe it's because you can't think of a nicer way to get me to stop complaining about how I am paying for what a bad child YOU were. Either way, it's appreciated.
  • Letting me lay in bed all day watching Psych after surgery. Yes, even though surgery  to remove cancer from my skin was required for you to be totally ok with me laying around, the break was super nice. I love me some Shawn and Gus. 
  • Stopping to pick me up a fountain soda on your way home.  Even though there is soda here, but I just HAVE to have one from a fountain. And even though I may have to remind you that I never EVER tell you no, so how dare you say no when I rarely ask you for anything. 

I know, not exactly 50 Shades material here, but hey this is the real world people. 

To me, the best expressions of love are when someone lets me know they are thinking about me or that they truly know me. 

Like when my husband shows up with a Keurig for me after I've been talking about it for months and he absolutely hates how much coffee I drink. Or when my kids pick up a maple leaf from the yard and give it to me, because they know I love them. Or when my daughter comes home from college for the weekend, gives me a hug and tells me she missed me (when usually, she is about as affectionate and cuddly as a pine cone). Or when friends post coffee memes on my Facebook page because it made them “think” of me. Or when my sisters send me a picture of an Oompa Loompa because they know it will totally freak me out and make me sing the song for the rest of the day while I curse them into damnation. Wait. No. That is the OPPOSITE of love. That is just pure evil. But the others, those are the best.

In the end, we must remember that it is our responsibility and our privilege to love ourselves first. Something we definitely don't do enough- ESPECIALLY after we become parents.  I believe not loving myself has led me to make the worst mistakes of my life and is definitely one of the main reasons I was diagnosed with melanoma (trying to be something I wasn’t by tanning).  So tonight I want to encourage you to be your own Valentine, today and every day, by doing the things I have  added to my "to-do" list.

Be yourself.
Know who you are and share that person with the world.

Love your imperfections.
Because without them we would all be just a bunch of Stepford wives and mommies running around.

Trust yourself.
You've made it this far. You are smarter than you think and you can handle more than you know.

Be as patient with yourself as you would a friend or family member.
Stop expecting perfection from yourself

Forgive yourself.
We've all made mistakes. Some we may always regret, but we can't dwell on them. Move on. Make a difference.

Take care of yourself FIRST.
This is the toughest one, especially for women. But if we are not healthy and happy and functioning from a remotely sane perspective, well, perfect heart- shaped pancakes for breakfast and cute hand-crafted note cards in our kids' lunch boxes really won't make all that much of a difference.

Do what you love.
 Dance, read, write, craft, sew, run, swim, bike, sit, sleep, nap, whatever truly makes you happy. Do it!

And for those of you who, like I used to, find most of your validation from others, there is still hope. plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong,
And you really do have worth.

In closing, I thought it would be fun to share some Valentine's For the Real World from Rants From Mommyland.  LOVE LOVE LOVE their blog btw. 

Thanks for reading! Until next time, practice safe sun!

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