Except for those awful adolescent and teen years when Valentine's Day pointed out who had a boyfriend and who did not (I being in the latter category generally), this saint's feast was never a big deal to me. My parents were (and are) affectionate and hugs, kisses and "I love you"s were (and are) commonplace. I don't recall them doing anything extra like going out to dinner, and certainly my dad never got my mom an extravagant gift.
By February of my freshman year of college, I was dating my husband, and we had precious little spare cash. A card, a carnation
Once we left the insular college life, we were bombarded with commercials and co-workers who tried to define for us what a true expression of love constituted. Frankly, I was repulsed. I saw a complete disconnect between what had been a commemoration of a saint's martyrdom and what had become a Hallmark holiday. It's not that I was offended from a religious perspective (at that time of my life, religion was not particularly important to me, and I doubt I even knew the history of the two St. Valentines), it was more that rampant consumerism, instead of inspiring competitiveness with the Joneses, made me want to throw out the TV and live in a cave. We were struggling with student loans and paying for the rent; we could not live that life, and I didn't want to live that life. I didn't want to be poor, either, of course. By the time our finances were such that we could afford a dozen red roses, my anti-Valentine's Day resolve was ingrained to the point that I would accept flowers on any day of the year except February 14th.
I'm not quite that bad now. Bill can buy me flowers or not. It doesn't matter much to me what he does, although our FRG is selling flowers on Wednesday as a fundraiser. I suggested that he buy some for our daughters who always get all giggly and excited whenever Daddy sends Mommy flowers, which he does occasionally do for no reason other than because he loves me. I think if he failed to acknowledge the day with a minimal expression of his love such as a card or some special chocolates, I would be a little disappointed. But he knows he doesn't need to be scouring the diamond district for a good deal on a bracelet or earrings or whatever.
He was also very confused when I told him my plans to make this cake for his office on Wednesday. I told him it was a bribe cake. My hope is that all those good feelings that scientists say occur in the body when it eats chocolate will inspire everyone to go home at a decent hour, or at least send my husband home in time to eat a second cake I'm making for our family. He had to think for a bit...what is Wednesday? Why is my wife making a cake Wednesday? Why would my wife want me home for dinner on Wednesday? Oh, Wednesday is Valentine's Day! OK, got that...now, why is my wife making a cake on Wednesday? She's not a big Valentine's Day person...??? I told him that if making a cake is what is took to get him home mid-week...finally, he gets it. "Oh, you want them to think you're like most women!" With a faux teary expression I say, "That's right, honey. If you're not here on Valentine's Day, I will be so upset. Of all the days of the year, can't you come home and have dinner on that extra special day with your family? Don't you love me? Love us?"
I sincerely doubt this ploy will do much to affect my husband's schedule. The snow and freezing rain we're expecting on Tuesday and Wednesday might, though! Perhaps God's gift to hard-working husbands and their families this year may be weather foul enough to close the roads. And when ice knocks down power-lines, what could be more romantic than snuggling under blankets in a candle-lit room drinking hot cocoa from water boiled on our propane grill?