I’ve never been a great fan of St. Valentine’s Day or the number 14 (which in Mandarin means “imminent death” if pronounced incorrectly).  Chocolate never did much for me unless it encased a strawberry rimming a glass of sparkling wine. Red roses, heart-shaped cards, and expensive dinners were never really my thing. As for boys, well, that’s another matter entirely!  

When I was in kindergarten, my teacher would put on music and me and my ‘boyfriend’ Tony would dance around the classroom with complete abandon.  I was very popular in elementary school and at one point had two boys walking me home: one carried my books, the other, my plaid lunchbox. It was fun, relaxed, and comfortable.

Valentine’s Day in elementary school was the deal! What was so neato was that regardless of how anybody felt about anybody else, everybody got a valentine’s card…and a party!  Could you ask for more?

Then, thrust upon we unsuspecting 12 year-olds, was the dreaded “MIDDLE SCHOOL”. All of a sudden it became a big, fat deal to have a boyfriend; or, at least, be stalked by several. You know what I had to say to that?

 “Buzz Kill!” 

Thus, life and (Valentine’s Day) turned into relentless pressure to conform– and lame dances were par for the course. Ugh.

Who needs additional pressure upon entering “The Middle”?  What an appropriate name for that period of life. It’s as if you’re locked in a time warp of change and anticipation. Seriously, you’re smack dab in the middle of acquiring social skills, battling skin issues, daily dealings with CHANGE, body awareness, image makeovers, and trying to figure out just what “cool” really means. Again I say, “Buzz Kill!”

However, being a social creature by nature, I still wanted to be cool, to fit in, to get a freakin’ card and perhaps a box of chocolates or a lousy flower.  Alas, I didn’t.  And, I never truly did until I met my husband nearly 18 years later. 

In fact, 18 years ago we were on our way to Victoria Island in the province of Vancouver, Canada to stay at a little place on the coast called Tai Na Mara.  There, over Valentines Weekend, we fell a little deeper in love, had strawberries, chocolates, and champagne. We exchanged roses and mushy cards and we went out for a very expensive dinner. Oh, and we danced with complete abandon as only 5 year olds and lovers are wont to do.