Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013's Valentines

I've always thought of Valentine's Day as the highlight of post-Christmas winter.  Just when the season seems endlessly cold and bleak, Valentine's Day arrives with its cozy reds and warm pinks and its gifts of love and flowers and pretty sweets and kind words.  A little girl in my care at work last week put two and two together while we were making cards and exclaimed, "Hey!  Val!  Valentine!  VALentine!"  I told her that the fact that my name is in it was part of the reason I loved this holiday so much when I was her age. 
 I love it now for better reasons, rest assured.  Since I didn't have my first boyfriend or even date until I was 24, my love for the day was never about dolling up for a romantic dinner out or finding the perfect present for a man or any of the other things we're too often told are the point of Valentine's Day.  It is for me a whole week of finding and making cards, catching up on letters, looking up recipes, deciding what to bake and which tablecoth to use, admiring the stores' displays of flowers and sweets, and marching through snow to the post office to send my stamped and stickered greetings.  I set what remains my own record my freshman year of college by mailing 44 Valentines, but even years like this one, when payday was the day after and the holiday was a more low-key affair, simply sitting down with a cake recipe and a few cards, stickers, and stamps before me was enough. 
 I mailed out Aunt Laurie's card and then realized I'd forgotten to include a frog somehow, a Valentine's Day tradition she has graciously come to accept over the years, so I created a second little card and walked back to the post office with it so it would arrive on time.  
Aunt Laurie's own card arrived Thursday and was more of her amazing paper art.  Remember the incredible scrapbook she made for Mike's and my first anniversary last April?  Lately, she has been crafting these house cards--"Cottage Cards by Laurie," she labels them, inside a heart-shaped tag that hangs from the chimneys--with windows and doors that open to reveal images, the recipients' names, and other little surprises.  
 This Valentine's Day's sweetest surprise came from my friend Tina, who is also my friend Sommer's sister.  In a big red heart-covered envelope was not only a long letter, but also recent pictures of her and her family, a handmade fabric Valentine card, and a puffy cinamon-scented fabric heart to hang.  Tina and I have shared the most heartbreaking moments over the years, so to be exchanging happy hearts still twenty years after we met is now the sweetest gift of all--and one that likely delights Sommer.    Life is such a wild ride. 
 An exchange of cards and a small carrot cake for us here Valentine's night, leftover cake the next few days, and Valentine's Day/Week has now come and gone again.  Love to you all, and here's to a happy March. 


La Table De Nana said...


Val said...

Thank you, Monique. :)

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Dear Val ~ Your Valentine's day sounds lovely and all of the cards are wonderful. Your cake looks yummy.

Thank you for my card and for the magnet. It is on the fridge with a pic of DH from 1968 being held by it.

I love your happy spirit and your home reflects the joy in your life.

Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

Nellie said...

Darling cake, Val. You have such a good talent with your craftiness!

Tracy said...

Valentines day isn't a big affair here in Australia. I think it is catching on now though because of more influence from other countries traditions.
I haven't ever received a Valentines but I think it is a sweet tradition and the past couple of years, I ahve been making a special dinner for the family and giving them a sweet treat as well.
Your cake and cards are lovely.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Val, the cake looks delicious!

asmplelife said...

I love Valentine's Day too! You are right about it being a warm spot in a cold winter stretch of time. I think you are oh so very blessed to receive such beautiful Valentine's, as are the people you send to. I wish I did that with friends. Thanks for such a cozy posting, Val.

Val said...

Thank you all. :)

And Lorraine, I was glad t read on your blog (and here) that the magnet reached you. :) It seemed so "you." ♥

And Tracy, that's interesting--to see how cultures influence each other positively.

Jenny Woolf said...

This is such a nice post. I like the idea of valentines being for lots of people that you love. Here in in England it is just a romance thing between a couple.

Val said...

Thank you, Jenny. Maybe it will eventually catch on in England like Tracy say it's starting to in Australia. :)