As I got older, my desire to uphold the romantic/sexual nature of Valentine's Day was gradually replaced by mild irritation with the whole commercial candy-fest side of it, and the cards from my parents, while no longer crazy-making, generally found their way into the recycling bin before long.
"Un-Valentine's / Go Canada!" is what the sign below says.
I'm still sympathetic to my younger self. When you're 15 years old and hoping to have a red carnation delivered to you in Block D by a Student Council-appointed Cupid, and that delivery fails to materialize ... well, a mushy card from Mom and Dad, no matter how well-intentioned, risks not going over so well.
Likewise, I'm still capable of rolling my eyes at the Valentine's Day mercantile shenanigans of grocery stores, auto repair shops, cell phone service providers, etc.
And yet ...
A few years ago, I read Julia Child's very engaging memoir of her years in France with the love of her life, Paul. The photo section of the book contained a few examples of homemade Valentine cards that the couple would send annually to their friends and family. The cards were fun and funny, and generally featured Julia and Paul in some kind of romantic and/or sexy pose — including one in a bubble bath with the caption "Wish you were here!"
Non-commercial ... romantic ... and at the same time celebrating love in its various platonic forms — the Child Valentine cards have stuck with me, and the more I see/experience of anger, intolerance, and general nastiness in the world, the more it makes sense to me that there should be a holiday in honour of love (not to mention chocolate).
This afternoon, Freddie and I sat in the Whole Foods courtyard, taking in the sunshine and the Valentine ambience and the various bits and pieces that blew by in the breeze ...
This is the pose Freddie selected for his session of taking it all in. He received a lot of admirers and managed to sneak a few kisses.
St. Valentine's Day Massacre?
Nope — just Cupid's lancet ...
... and a chance for Freddie to show his devotion
Here's this year's mushy parental Valentine, well clear of the recycling bin ...
And here — in the spirit of Julia and Paul — are Valentine greetings from Heather and Paul ... and, of course, Freddie, whose affection knows no bounds!
Happy Valentine's Day!
Joyeuse Saint Valentin!
¡Feliz día de San Valentín!