When Rob was my boyfriend (and later my husband), Valentine's Day was always an over the top occasion, as were birthdays. I just wanted flowers and a dinner date. Until we got married, he pulled out all the stops. He didn't understand why I wanted a simpler date when he always made elaborate plans. I'm not sure I was able to think of the words during that time, but the truth is, I wanted to know that I was loved and special to him all the time. I didn't care to participate in his game of, "I was really terrible to you last week and I need to make it up to you." All the celebrations were some elaborate attempt to make up to me. The last birthday I spent with him, I made him take me to dinner at the Rainforest Cafe and to a movie rather than driving to Dallas for a dress to the nines five star something. I nixed all the fancy plans that year and told him that I just wanted him to be nice to me all year long. For some reason, it seemed to be news to him that his bargaining, the extravagant things a few times a year, did not make up for his sorry treatment the rest of the year. I love having nice things and celebrating well, but who wants to celebrate with someone's self-inflicted punishment? No thank you.
There have been a few more, but the men have all been disappointing. I want to love and be loved. You would think that it is a simple thing to want. For some reason, it's not. I don't understand it. By nature, I am one who loves. It isn't hard for me to do. I am able to love most of my patients and their families and support them through their crises. The attachments I form aren't fakery. Why is that easy to do for them and yet I'm not quite able to do that for myself?
I'm glad to spend Valentine's Day with my cats. Not exactly romantic, but they're sweet and snuggly. They're cats. They feel no sense of duty or self-punishment when they snuggle up next to me. Maybe next time, I can have love with roots and wings; a sense of belonging and lots of fun.