I had an unexpected experience yesterday in a pharmacy while waiting for a prescription to be filled. There was a rather large section devoted to Valentine cards and gifts for purchase that was packed with people. Some were quite focused and others scurrying like field mice. As I stood back and observed for awhile, what I witnessed was very intriguing. There was quite a range in age among the shoppers. There were more men than women. Some appeared to be shopping for themselves and others for small children's classmates (the boxed kid cards). None of that seemed out of the ordinary to me. Then I decided to act as if I were looking for a card/gift as well so I could get an "insider's" look at what felt like a bit of frenzy!
There were facial expressions that could be described as the following: confused, desperate, excited, irritated, starry-eyed, joyful, etc. This I found to be unexpected. Well, the 'less than loving' expressions, that is.
Then I heard one man say to another, "If I don't find her just the right card that says what she wants to hear, I'm screwed." OK, definitely not what I expected.
So, I thought I'd do a little experiment. I guess I'm lucky I didn't get asked to leave. I walked around until I found a face that beckoned for verbal release.
I approached a young woman looking, maybe irritated, and I asked, "Having trouble finding just the right card?" Her response was, "Yeah, I guess. It probably doesn't really matter what it says as long as I give him one. He's into all this crap." I just smiled.
I moved on and spotted an elderly gentleman, hands slightly shaking, reading away. I said, "It looks like you must have a sweetheart." He said, "Yep, I do. Same one for 50 Valentine's Days this year." I replied, "Hey, that's wonderful. I bet she really appreciates getting your card every year."
"Oh, she doesn't mind. She puts up with me and my cards." "What do you mean?" I asked. "Well, she already knows I love her. I fall in love with her again every single day. I'm the one that likes to find her a card that says that a little different way every year. It's getting more challenging these days." I wanted to hug him, but... I told him that I hope he finds what he is is looking for and that his wife is a very fortunate woman. He smiled and said, "I'm the lucky one."
My prescription was ready, so I left with mixed emotions regarding this big ticket 'holiday.' I stopped at another store to pick up some groceries and once again the Valentine's Day isles were packed. People were clamoring about like midnight Christmas Eve! Arms wrapped around stuffed animals and baskets filled with mugs, flowers, candy...you name it!
I approached a very young man, maybe early twenties, that was holding an enormous stuffed teddy bear and asked, "Wow, who's the lucky recipient of THAT?" He said with a troubled voice, "My girlfriend. Yeah, she pretty much told me that if I didn't get her something even better than last year, she'd be pi_ _ed." I just said that I was sure she would love it. I thought to myself, "How sad."
I wasn't about to end my experiment with that interaction. I finally saw an older lady in the next aisle of cards, smiling away with quite a few cards in her grip. I asked her if she wanted me to get her a basket. She said, "Thank you, but I'm almost done. Of course, if I have any MORE grandchildren, I WILL start needing a basket!" I smiled. I got so tickled with her. She was having a fabulous time picking out kiddy cards.
There was one final woman that I spoke to, maybe in her 40's. She must have read every single card displayed. I was looking at cards too so I commented, "Sometimes it's hard to find one that is just right." She replied quickly, "I know! My husband and I got married on Valentine's Day and I never know whether to get him an Anniversary card or a Valentine's card. I usually get him both, but this year it's different." I asked why. She explained that after 10 years of marriage, they split up for a few months in the summer. Now they were back together and it means even more to her to tell him how much he really means to her. I just stood there a few seconds then I suggested that maybe she could make a card herself so that she could say exactly what she felt. She looked at me with kind of a blank stare and then said, "OMG, I never thought of doing that. Thank you." Before I could say anything, she turned and walked away.
So why am I telling you all this? A few reasons!
1- There are probably as many reasons why people 'do' Valentine's Day as there are people.
2- People are generally willing to tell you their story (that's why Bright Spots happen)
3- Valentine's Day is not just for romantic relationships
4- There may be a couple reasons that seem 'out of the spirit of it all' (just my opinion)
-fear of reprisal if you opt out
5- Just wanted to share my personal experience like I always do.
***With that said, my wish is that all who choose to partake in Valentine's Day do so from a place of love as an extra added acknowledgement that celebrates the feelings and behaviors that have been expressed throughout the year to those you truly care about and appreciate being in your life!!! Any day, any time, anywhere is available to express genuine love and gratitude to important people in your life....perhaps even a stranger or two. Give kudos to that mail carrier, that person selling newspapers along the side of the road, that bus driver, that restaurant server, the window washer and the list goes on!!!
HAPPY VALENTINE'S to all and to all a love-filled day!