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anne_mikolay_120Ho hum! (Yawn.)

According to a recent Yahoo.com poll, twenty percent of men surveyed did not know the date of Valentine's Day. Hardly empirical, Yahoo's survey included only fifty men, and can't be considered representative of the general male population. But let's think about this for a moment. Ten out of the fifty men surveyed did not know when Valentine's Day is. Are they living in a vacuum?

When every pharmacy and supermarket begins lining their shelves with heart-shaped boxes of candy immediately after Christmas, how could these men be unaware of Valentine's Day? Have they never walked passed a Hallmark store? I feel sorry for their sweethearts, their wives, their mothers.

I grew up equating Valentine's Day with greeting cards and candy. Each February 14th, my father presented my mother with a lace-edged, heart-shaped box of candy, and a fancy card, the kind with pink felt hearts and ribbons. My mother liked a certain brand of candy; back then, supermarkets didn't carry fancy candy, and my dad searched high and low to make sure he found it for her. In a little girl's eyes, it was all very pretty, romantic, sweet.

Fast forward many years: my husband spoiled me with roses on Valentine's Day; my little boys pampered me with home-made cards and heart-shaped cookies and cakes. I reveled in it, but the passing years have completely altered my opinion of how to sincerely commemorate Valentine's Day.

I don't need fancy cards, especially these days when the felt hearts and ribbons cost far more than they are worth (I need not worry about my grown kids spending too much on cards; sadly, my boys share a kinship with the twenty percent of men who don't know when Valentine's Day is). My hips certainly don't need candy. Roses are lovely, but temporary. A kiss and a hug is nice, but far too fleeting. I don't want any of these things for Valentine's Day.

I want something different. I want my children to think of their Mom, and give me something, without being prompted by their Dad. Not a card. Not candy. Not flowers. How about a “Hey, Mom, let me make dinner this evening?” or how about “Hey, Mom, I'll go to Pathmark and lift those heavy cases of water for you.” How about “Mom, thanks for doing my laundry!” or “Mom, I brought you the black and whites you love so much!” I don't need the usual Valentine trimmings from hubby either. Call me crazy, ladies, but this Valentine's Day, I don't want the easily purchased stuff that lets men off the hook. Nope. I want their time, their appreciation, their sentiment.

And fellas, just for the record, I'm well aware that it goes both ways.

While some gals are content with roses and candy (and that's fine if these are thoughtfully presented), assembly-line Valentines are not for me. Guys, you need not give your money to Hallmark or Russell Stover when the women in your life just want your heart.