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Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day from the Queen of Pink

Originally posted on CharlotteMommies blog:

OK, I'll admit it. I am a Valentine's Day freak. I know, I a society, we have commercialized Christmas, Easter, and Valentine's Day, and I am guilty of contributing to the growing pocketbook of the executives at American Greetings. I am the answer to Hallmark's prayers. The makers of pink icicle lights - they love me. They send me a birthday card every year. The genius who invented Valentine's Day GARLAND? My contribution to her cause has undoubtedly paid for at least two of her cars.
So what is the lure? I'm not sure, but speaking for myself - it could have something to do with my fascination with the color pink. Trista Rehn - HA! She's got NOTHING on me. Good thing Maryelise was a girl. "Grayson" would have looked a little ridiculous in pink dresses I bought! My husband declares our house hyper feminine. I suppose the predominantly pink and floral decor, coupled with the lovely violet basement could be construed as such, but come on...I let him decorate the porch with all the sports paraphernalia he wanted! In honor of my adoration for all things pink and girly, I would like to take this opportunity to uncover some of the myths, history, and traditions surrounding one of my favorite days of the year...February 14.
Valentine's Day is based on a pagan holiday, the festival of Lupercalia. St. Valentine the martyr soon became associated with the day. He was known for secretly marrying couples during a time when marriage was banned, as it was seen as an obstacle to building a strong army. (And we wonder why men get offended when we question if they can do two things at married and fight in the army.... Hmmmm). But back to St. Valentine...he was eventually caught performing marriages and beheaded. On February 14. Yes, a celebration on the day of someone's demise. Isn't that American? When the beheading was over, St. Valentine's jailer found a note written by St. V himself, to the jailer's daughter. He had signed the note, "From your Valentine." Eventually the leaders of the Christian church replaced Lupercalia with the feast of St. Valentine. So thanks to the famous last words of St. Valentine, the United States, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia now celebrate Valentine's Day. The residents of these countries send approximately 1 billion Valentine's Day cards...just a few short of the 2.6 billion Christmas cards sent out by people all over the world each December. Hallmark alone has over 1300 different cards specifically designed for Valentine's Day.
Let's talk candy. You know that adorable clucking Cadbury bunny? Cadbury also invented the first Valentine's Day candy box back in the 1800's. It's a good thing they did. The Chocolate Manufacturer's Association of America says that 36 million boxes of chocolate are sold for Valentine's Day...and Americans spend more than $1105 million each Valentine's Day on candy alone. I wonder how many Weight Watchers points that is?
I have to say - Valentine's Day wasn't ALWAYS a great holiday in my book. I was a single mom for many Valentine's Days, and while the first one did get me down, I soon realized that getting into the kids' spirit of the day wasn't such a bad idea. I decided to send cards to everyone in my address book. This caused an enormous response, mostly because I don't send Christmas cards (shame on me), so the lucky recipients of my valentines had to call to see if I'd lost my mind or was given a shortened lifespan.
The next year, I bought some roses from the Lions Club (yes, the inexpensive ones) and left one on the doorsteps of all the widowed ladies on my street. This was a huge hit, and we became a neighborhood of Valentines without lovers...and didn't dread the holiday so much. In fact, we became well versed in what the colors of flowers mean. It's universally known that red roses are extremely costly around Valentine's Day. This is because the demand is so high that florists can't keep up. Red roses are the epitome of romance. Think about the first time you got a red rose. Do you remember how warm and fuzzy you felt, or how you giggled to your best friend for 3 days recanting the whole experience? But if you want to convey grace, gentleness, and gratitude, go for the pale pink. Light pink roses express fun and happiness, while deep pink convey, "Thank you." As far as determining the exact hue of your pink roses, you're on your own...and be sure to keep pink separate from coral (desire), peach (sympathy), and orange (enthusiasm). Or you could combine 2 roses, each a different color, and create a new meaning, like red and yellow for happiness and celebration, red and white for bonding and harmony, or dead roses - to say, "Sayonara" loud and clear! Lilac roses mean enchantment, and white mean truth and innocence. So don't be afraid to mix and match. Or take the easy (and expensive) way out. Buy hybrids with every possible color somewhere in the petals. Not only do they cost a fortune, they create an everlasting memory and are conversation starters for all who see them.
If you're so inclined, start talking about the roses on your love seat...which was first made to seat a woman her wide dress, but which evolved into a small couch designed for a courting couple. And while you're on the love seat, grab an apple and twist the stem while you recite the names of 5 or 6 people you'd like to marry. When the stem breaks off, that's the name of your future mate. And after you have that perfect mate, blow the seeds of a dandelion into the wind. However many seeds remain on the stem is the number of children you will have. What a scientific method!
Or throw caution to the wind. Forget all these conventional ideas. Why not wake up early and make heart-shaped pancakes (all you need is the batter and a heart-shaped cookie cutter - you can make your own perfect pancake). Or have the shower nice and hot for your beloved when he gets into the bathroom for his morning primping. How about a game of pin the arrow on the heart with the kiddies while they are waiting for the bus? Why not eat only red or heart-shaped foods today? It may be a challenge finding foods that fit the bill, but how many people have you heard of who are forever challenged in finding food period, let alone red or heart-shaped (never forget how blessed you truly are!).
For me, I am content with my Valentine's Day manicure and the joy Maryelise finds in all the trinkets I pick up from the middle of January until the big day. I challenge you to search deep in your heart this Valentine's Day and convey nothing but warmth and love for the 24 hours of February 14. I guarantee even if you don't get a valentine yourself, you will feel fulfilled from the love you have spread. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

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