As a little girl growing up on Disney movies such as Cinderella and Snow White, I used to look longingly at all the Valentine's Day treats at our local supermarket. It wasn’t that I wanted the candy (well, I did, but that’s another story)… I wanted the fairy tale. To me, receiving a heart-shaped box of candy from a boy was as good as going to Cinderella’s ball.
When I was 12-years-old, my dad brought home a red, heart-shaped candy box for my mom, and a yellow heart box for me. It was almost as good as getting one from Prince Charming. Almost.
When I was about 16, I had a boyfriend who gave me a Whitman’s box of candy for Valentine’s Day. Although Whitman’s has great candy, the yellow, rectangular shaped box was a total let-down. Needless to say, he was NOT my prince charming (though it really had nothing to do with the shape of the box).
By the time my husband and I got married, I'd pretty much gotten over the whole heart-shaped-box thing. My hubby loves holidays and gift giving, and from the get-go, he always brought me goodies on Valentine’s Day. They were usually off-beat gifts like a funky t-shirt or candles or some kind of unusual candy. He was Prince Charming for sure.
Several years into our marriage, I met a woman who was positively evil about Valentine’s Day. She told me that if she woke up on Valentine’s Day morning without breakfast in bed, not to mention candy, flowers, and diamonds, then her husband was in big trouble. I’m shocked (and you will be, too) to know that they are still married today. Whatever.
Over the years, I’ve been quite appalled at what consumer marketing has done to this sweet little holiday (not to mention the other holidays such as Easter, Halloween, and of course Christmas). I can honestly say that since Prince Charming and I have now spent many years together, I don’t need a special candy box or flowers, nor do I expect them. In fact, maybe it’s the practical Maine influence, but it seems to me the money could be better spent.
So yesterday, after the whole slush-shoveling fiasco, I spent the rest of the day indoors, working. That evening, I put on my comfortable clothes (read that: baggy sweat pants, giant fleece pullover, and too-big, bright green socks), washed off my make-up and replaced my contacts with my old, out-of-date glasses. Prince Charming was working late, so my daughters and I started watching “I Love Lucy” re-runs. Part way through this mini-vacation, I realized we had library books due. Plus, I had neglected to get the mail that day.
So I put on a pair of clogs over my green socks, donned my coat and got into the car. Halfway to the library, I suddenly realized that tomorrow was Valentine’s Day. Dang – how had I missed that? Although I scoff at the commercialism, I still like to get a little something for my kids and my hubby. The clock in my car read 8:30 and there was a Rite Aid nearby. I looked down at my lame outfit and hoped nobody I knew was in Rite Aid at that hour.
I bought my family what they like most at this time of the year – Cadbury Easter Eggs. Yeah, go figure. I put them in little red and white Valentine bags and was good to go.
As I drove back into our ice-chunky driveway at home, I saw a big, long box leaning against the back door. A package had come sometime that day, but no one had seen it. I took it inside to find that Prince Charming himself had sent me a bouquet of spring flowers – lilies, tulips, the works. Not only that, once I brought them inside and they warmed up, the lilies all opened beautifully and completely brightened up our house.
Ah – a breath of spring in mid-February. Don't we all know it's just what we need at this time of the year in Maine?
Yep, that’s what I call a fairy tale ending. Not that I was exactly a Cinderella, but rather, one of her frumpy step-sisters. I'm just glad my Prince Charming doesn't see it that way. :)
Happy Valentine’s Day, Friends.
Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes