Me and My Valentine—by Jamie Levine
I dislike Valentine’s Day—immensely! Throughout the past decade—except for the year during which I was dating Library Guy—I’ve never actually had a serious boyfriend on February 14th. And this year was no different. Although I did recently start dating Gym Guy, I didn’t expect to be dazzled by him on V-Day because he’s not actually my “boyfriend”—and my expectations were right. In fact, he sorely disappointed me (though we did spend an awesome night-after-Valentine’s Day together) and I was quite angry at him for most of the day. In addition, an ex-boyfriend made me cry. He didn’t do it maliciously, but we’d unexpectedly arranged to meet for lunch the day before, and after I texted him to tell him how good it had been to see him, he responded with a very sweet message that made me pine for him—even though I know he’s an ex for a reason.
Then there’s Facebook. Although I’m not one of those hostile “I hate Valentine’s Day” posters, that doesn’t mean I actually enjoyed the deluge of photos that many ridiculously happy couples shared, along with sappy posts detailing deliveries of long-stemmed roses, expensive gifts, and confessions of undying love. I’m not a V-Day Scrooge—but I have my limits. I also have a penchant for conversation hearts, and popping them all day long and consciously sabotaging my fitness and healthy diet routine didn’t make me feel any better about my single self.
But there is one thing—or person—that did help me feel better. And, as is often true for this single mother by choice, it was my daughter, Jayda. My little sweetheart was so excited about the holiday (likely in anticipation of all the cards and sweets she’d receive at school that day) that she dressed up in a fancy heart-covered dress, coated her lips with red lipgloss, and announced to me: “Mommy! Want to know who my Valentine is? It’s a secret!” As she beckoned for me to come closer so she could whisper in my ear, I waited for her to utter the name of a boy in her class. But I was pleasantly surprised when she declared, “YOU!” and covered me with kisses.
That afternoon, when I picked up Jayda from after-care at her school, I presented her with a bouquet of roses, and informed her, “These are for my beautiful valentine!” As she grinned in delight and proudly carried the flowers to the car, I grinned too. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about mourning the love you don’t have; instead, it should be about celebrating the love you do have. And when it comes to loving Jayda—and Jayda loving me—my heart is overflowing. On February 14th—and every other day of the year—she’s the best valentine a mother could ask for.