As I was preparing to attend my daughters’ Valentine’s Day parties this week, I thought back to when I had those classroom parties when I was young.
I remember sitting there for hours trying to find the perfect valentine for each classmate. I remember not wanting to give the mushy ones to the boys I thought were cute because then they’d be on to my “crush.”
It all came flooding back when I sat at the table with the girls – and they were doing the same thing!
“I can’t give this valentine to so and so! Ew!” were common expressions I heard.
I laughed and reminded them that boys don’t really care about valentines at that age anyway. They just want to know what kind of candy they are going to get.
Fast forward to high school. I went to an all-girls private high school. For the most part, no one really cared about who had boyfriends because our teachers and administrators taught us we were much more than a girlfriend. They taught us how to be strong women.
That was the case, at least – until Valentine’s Day.
Wow. The claws came out! The school office was filled, front to back, top to bottom with flower deliveries for girls at our school. Many of them were from the neighboring all-boys school, many of them were from parents.
We all wanted flowers at school to make us feel good, and the bigger the bouquet, the more your boyfriend loved you (or he just had the money).
But I never got them. I remember walking out of school crushed those days.
Fast forward again to courting and marrying my husband. This man doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body.
For six years before we were married, I’d anxiously wait at work for the phone call that I had flowers at the security desk. That never came.
For years, I’d think he would deliver them in person. That has never happened.
Every year, I hope for a romantic card, telling me how wonderful I am and how much he loves our relationship. I’m still waiting for that. (If I should happen to get a card from my husband, it usually involves jokes about bodily functions.)
Something has changed over the years, though. In the past two years after battling cancer, I have realized I don’t need one day a year when my husband can profess his love for me. I don’t need his love in the form of candy, flowers or a card.
I found his true love and his commitment to me while holding my hand at the hospital. I found it when he would sit for eight hours with me when I was having poison dripped into my body. I found it in his true statements to me when I would cry about my body image after surgery and through treatment.
“I don’t care how you look, I just want you,” he said.
That was my greeting card. I feel and live his love every day.
So, for me, Valentine’s Day, is just another day. But if you haven’t told that person you love them lately, make sure you do today and then resolve to do it more often, not just for special occasions.
Brea Nelson is an Omaha mom of two daughters and a cancer survivor.