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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love & Misery

My daughter likes to call Valentine's Day, "Singles Awareness Day" (S.A.D.). The reason is because she knows she's not going to get a valentine card or gift from anyone except her mother and father, and what a depressing thought!

There really is a lot of pressure, isn't there, for people to express their undying love for each other on such a day. If you don't, you're in the doghouse. And if you do confess your passion to someone who doesn't want your affection or anything to do with you, you'll be avoided like the plague.

Such is what happened to me when I wrote a Valentine's Day card to Mark Tweedy in Grade Three. I thought he was the cat's meow. He was blonde, blue-eyed, very smart (except for the time he dove off the sundeck at his home and broke both wrists), and I was head-over-heels. We gave lots cards to kids in our class leading up to Valentine's Day, so an envelope for each of us was tacked to the bottom of the chalkboard, making a long row of them hanging around the room.

By the time my kids went to school, you either gave every kid in the class a card, or none at all...you weren't allowed to be choosy. But in my third grade year, such was not the case. Each day we would come into the class and check the thickness of our envelopes; how disappointing it was when I saw that somebody else's envelope was fatter than mine. It made very obvious to all of us which kids were more popular in the class, and most of us weren't in that league.

I gave cards to my best friends and to my teacher, but my most passionate expressions one year in particular were saved for the card I wrote for Mark. I don't remember what I wrote, but I don't think I held anything back. I had hoped that my affections would be returned, of course, and why not? I was a dazzling Grade Three-er...who wouldn't love me right back?

I'm sure you can imagine the disappointing end to this story. If he ever spoke to me before that day, he never did again. All I got was a kind of sick-to-my-stomach look from him when he opened it, and then nothing more. I don't know what ever happened to Mark and I went on to fall for other boys, but I won't forget my first foray into passionate Valentine's Day confessions.

When I was older and single and living by myself, I had similar disappointments. I would hope and hope for a sign from that certain someone and hardly get a "boo". Of course, later that turned around for me and eventually Valentine's Day cards became nothing more than another entry on my To Do list.

Let's face it, for most of us, Valentine's Day is really for lovers, like Christmas is for kids. But the first time you have an exchange of cards and love from the person you have your heart set on, is the most wonderful thing in the world. I hope my girls get to feel that way one day. In the meantime, Single's Awareness Day will probably thrive. Maybe somebody should start creating and selling Single's Awareness Day cards...there'd be big business in that, I'm sure.

All you need is love.

IJ