So What’s the big deal with Valentine’s Day?

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Our Story Begins: What’s the Big Deal
With Valentine’s Day?!

It all started tonight with a question from both my sons:

“So Dad, what’s the big deal with Valentine’s Day?”

I wasn’t exactly sure what he meant.  I had never fielded such a question, not from either of their older sisters, it just sort of  . . . was.

“I mean, why do people make such a big deal of it, Dad?  It’s just a day, right?”
“Well, it’s a day to celebrate love, romance, feelings for each other . . . ”
“But people always say it’s just a day to buy flowers and candy for your girlfriend,” Sam says, squishing up his face in distaste.
“Well…I suppose.  More women like the holiday than men.  That’s probably true.  I always said I didn’t like it but I secretly liked it a little.”
Noah looks at me perplexed.  “So do you still like it?”

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People in line for Chocolates at a Sacramento shop

I didn’t really know how to answer that question.  When I had a girlfriend it was fun and romantic and sexy.  When I was first married we made plans.  When I was a working musician it sucked because you made tons of money that night in clubs but you sacrificed your romantic evening.  (One such night, after a horrible gig, our making up likely led to my oldest daughter, but I won’t paint much more of a picture than that.)

In an effort to avoid a major discussion, we got onto the History Channel’s page and looked at the day’s history:

http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day/videos/history-of-valentines-day?m=528e38969e64d

When they talked about ancient Romans sacrificing animals then “slapping young women with strips of flesh cut from the animals” Sam looks at me and says “yeah, Dad, that’s romantic!”  Sarcasm dripped from his words.
“Didn’t this come from a guy who became a martyr?” Noah asks.  I reply in the affirmative and he questions the romance of that.

It’s then we see that a young priest, one of several Saint Valentines that married young couples for love against the ideas of the emperor that they start to catch on.
“Marriages were like business deals back then,” I tell him.  “Arranged and negotiated.  He consecrated marriages for people who wanted to get married.”
“So where do the chocolates and flowers come in,” my son asks.

I hadn’t anticipated a third degree over Valentine’s Day.  I wasn’t even looking forward to the day.
“Flowers were given to Father Valentine.   The priest fell in love with his jailer’s daughter and passed her a note that said “from your Valentine” before he was executed.”
“Ohhhh….so the first Valentine’s Day card,” Noah says.  “That makes sense.”

14 billion dollars a year, they hear, is what Valentine’s Day brings businesses.  That’s a lot of chocolate.

Not one to forget, my son asks me again . . . “so . . . do you still like it,” he asks me?

“Well…it reminds me a little of your Mom, which I do like.  There’s nothing wrong with remembering romantic days with her.”
“Do you look forward to Valentine’s Day,” my son Noah asks me, a little hesitant?
“No, can’t say that,” I tell him.  “I don’t have your Mom and I’m not really celebrating.  But I have you guys and I sent your sister some chocolates in college.  Does that count?”
“Will you do something tonight?”
“Well…probably have dinner with you guys and then watch a movie or something.  Likely something mindless with a lot of explosions,” I say, smiling as it comes out.

“Yeah…I supposed that’s pretty good,” they tell me.

And yeah, it is.  Pretty good.

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