EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - There are expensive, sentimental holidays like Christmas and Mother's Day. There are silly and fun holidays like Halloween and St. Patrick's Day. Then there are the high-pressure holidays that include New Year's Eve and, the worst, St. Valentine's Day. St. Valentine's day is as commercialized as anything else we celebrate here in America, but that overselling is not the complaint here. It's the pressure. When you get to be an OMP, it's even worse.
An OMP (Old Married Person) has been celebrating St. Val's with the same person for at least the past 5 years. Yeah, we have gone through the Valentine's proposal (good idea, not original, but good, ) the chocolates delivered to the office, the flowers hurriedly picked up at Shop-Rite on the way home, yadda, yadda, yadda, as Jerry Seinfeld would say.
We even hid behind our children for a number of years, selecting various timely "valentimes" to address to every kid in the class, a Snoopy valentine for the teacher, heart-shaped sandwiches in lunchboxes. It was a clever diversion away from the whole Mom and Dad valentine thing. It took the heat off the pressure. We went back to over-parenting where were were much more comfortable.
But, now here we are, together for decades after having shared our first kiss in the 1980's. What to do when surprises are harder and harder to pull off? Kids are away at school, so there's no focus on them. I don't even want to think about what's going on in Collegetown. Victoria's Secret? Puh-lease.
If you stop celebrating St. Valentine's Day or any holiday, really, you do start to get a little older, so blowing it off is out of the question. Holidays help us to sense the seasons, the movement of time, the growth of relationships in our lives. This particular one, though, brings us back to the central one that has impacted all others. How do we show our love, OMPs, in a special way on this one day?
One good way is letting go of planning. Just say yes. My husband has decided that we are seeing a concert at the State Theater, making tapas for dinner, having a fire, and hanging out together watching the TV and reading the Sunday papers. I am pretty sure there's wine involved somewhere, too. Maybe chocolate? Conversation? Laughter? A good day.
OMPs, we must be doing something right for us even to have this problem, right? Don't stress over it. Look in the face of your partner in OMPness and rediscover it. Anticipate its change with delight. Remember the first kiss from that face and the thousands of kisses after that. No pressure. You've got this one.