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Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day has never been a great day for me.  I've spent many of them alone, and this year, I prefer that to any past experiences I've had.  When I was younger, I longed for the outward display of romance.  Other girls had boyfriends who sent them roses.  I was "just friends" with several of those boys.  I wondered what those girls had that I didn't or if I had an extra eye in the middle of my forehead that was visible to everyone but me.  When I look back at the photos, I still don't see it.  Maybe my bright red hair was frightening for them.

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.

Much later, I met Mark.  In the beginning, he was thoughtful and kind to me.  He frequently gave gifts, flowers, and was great for the first year.  Then the gifts became things he wanted to give rather than him being tuned in to giving things I would like to receive.  Valentine roses and dinner were always nice.  The windshield tinting that he asked me to pay part of was something he insisted on rather than something that was a thoughtful, kind deed for me.  There were the sodium chlorite drops, the various health food products, and the things he insisted I buy for myself.  His attitude reminded be of Hyacinth Bucket's.  At all costs, he had to keep up appearances so that others would see that he has the best because he is the best, and because he's smart enough to know everything.

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.