Monday, February 14, 2011

The Hallmark Holiday

"I don't understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine's Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon." ~Author Unknown

OK, Valentine’s Day is just a terrible holiday. I am not sure exactly when I began to feel so strongly about this fact but I do. My personal feelings mostly revolve around the fact that it is a commercial holiday aimed at draining our wallets and making us question our worthiness depending on whether we have an actual “valentine” or not.

My views on this even surprise me as I tend to be a glass half-full/embrace happiness as much as possible type of person. I’m a romantic. I’m emotional. But to me, the problem with Valentine’s Day is that it sends a message that love has to be romantic. How many commercials on TV do you see with a woman celebrating a loving friendship with a female friend? Or a son expressing his love for his mother? I know, I know, you can find cards for this type of thing in the Hallmark section such as “To My Parents on Valentine’s Day” but the reality is, that isn’t what the intended purpose of Valentine’s Day is in our society today. Maybe part of my issue with the day is that it is telling me this is the day I should be expressing my love for my partner when in actuality, I try (and most of the time succeed!) in doing that every single day.

So on February 14th, you fall into one of two traps: the single person who is left figuring out if they should spend the holiday in a bottle of scotch or a pint of ice cream. Or you could be the person in a relationship trying to make sure that you don’t screw up. All of a sudden, the decision between roses, candy, and jewelry becomes overwhelming on this one day of the year. More often than not, it becomes a challenge to live up to the expectations.

This initially presented quite a dilemma to me this year because I am in love, real love. Like the kind that makes every day a joyous experience and more often than not, makes me wonder how I got through the last 39 years without him. All of a sudden, this year, it became ever MORE important to bypass Valentine’s Day because as dorky as this sounds, it felt like it would take something away from every other day of the year, which are just as much like Valentine’s Day should be as February 14th pretends to be.

He makes me chicken soup when I am sick. He sends e-mails from work in the middle of the day. He surprises me with mystery dates. He holds my hand at funerals. He listens to me rant and rave (even about Valentine’s Day!). He encourages my dreams. He knows when to hold me. He knows when to give me space. Even though he wanted to and knew I would go along with it, he volunteered to not celebrate Valentine’s Day; knowing how strongly I feel about it. I know that many people can celebrate Valentine’s Day and still show their love for each other at other times during the year but for me, not making a big deal out of February 14th means that February 15th (and even September 15th) will be something to look just as forward to….

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Finding Home

Where we love is home,
Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

I sat quietly on the throw rug in the living room by myself. Within five minutes everyone else had exited my apartment (even the dog) and I was alone. I cried. A month of planning and packing and I was almost there. I was moving to my boyfriend’s home.

I have always had difficulty with change, even good change, but that being said I have gotten much better at it over the past few years. I wasn’t crying because I was sad though; this move was something I wanted more than anything. I was crying because change of any sort (even good change) is scary and risky. I was crying because I had nowhere at that moment that was “home” to me.

I have come to realize over the years that having a comfortable and safe place to call home is an integral part of who I am. Although I like to go out and experience the world, I am very much a homebody at heart. I am a woman who will forgo new clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. in order to have more money available to make my home one that makes me feel at peace whether it be with candles, books, curtains, etc. It is the security blanket of my life. It is partly why I have probably enjoyed living alone at times in my life.

I had a strong sense of security and safety at this home I was leaving and I knew it would take a while to gain that in a new one, especially since I was moving into someone else’s home. To me, that is the most difficult kind of transition to make. It is one thing to move into an empty house that you can either make it your own or make it into something with the person you are moving there with. It is a whole different story to move into someone else’s space. I am fortunate because my boyfriend is very flexible about this type of thing but still, it feels awkward to move around someone else’s things and memories to make room for yours.

However, as the past three days have flown by, I have come to find things in this new place that make it feel like home. A fire in the fireplace. The sound of the train going by (I know this would drive some people crazy but I love it). The way the sunlight comes into the dining room in the morning.

But ultimately, I have found the most important thing in this new place that makes it feel like home. My dear love. He is the reason after all that I undertook this big change. He represents everything that is home to me. The feeling of security and contentment is not just about the walls, the furniture, or the belongings. It is about how I feel when I come home to him. It is about how I feel when he comes home to me. It is about how I feel waking up next to him every morning. His love for me is what makes these walls that surround me my home. And really, at the end of the day, he is my home.