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Happy Valentines Day???

I'm afraid I'm getting cynical in my old age.  Not that I've ever been the perky cheerleader type who insists that everything is gumdrop marshmallow happy all the time (which is strangely relevant to my post...), but when I was younger I thought there were two kinds of old people; happy old people, and cantankerous old people.  The latter were the ones who could be heard saying things like "kids these days" and "remember when X only cost Y" and "they sure don't make 'em like they used to," along with many more colorful phrases to criticize the current age they are living in.  I don't want to be that guy, but I'm afraid it's happening.

While I will never be heard saying "kids these days" because 1) I don't believe kids today are any different than kids 50 years ago, and before that the only difference was that "kid" ended at 10 or 12, not 18 (or 29), which has nothing to do with the kids and everything to do with an expanded middle class, increased education, and merchandising (none of which the kids asked for or initiated, btw), and 2) if kids are different, it is not their fault, it is their parents' fault, I find myself saying or thinking cantankerous phrases more and more as I age.  Most of them are directly related to consumerism, big business, or unethical advertising.

Hello Valentine's Day.  Similar to my objection to Santa at Christmas, I'm not a fan of Valentine's day because it's something that is celebrated without full understanding.  But beyond that, it is a toxic holiday.  It sets parents up to disappoint their kids, husbands and boyfriends up to disappoint their wives and girlfriends, and single people up to be depressed.  The only truly happy people on valentine's day are couples still in the newlywed phase and the CEO's of card and candy companies. 

But in the spirit of trying NOT to be that old cantankerous person, I will admit that there is value to Valentine's day.  It creates an opportunity to develop family traditions, which are the foundation of a memorable childhood for children.  It gives men, who aren't normally adept at expressing their feelings, an excuse to show their significant other that they love and appreciate them.  It gives all of us the motivation to do so, even if that loved one is a parent, a friend, or a child and not a romantic partner. 

My solution to the Valentine's day conundrum?  It's hard, because I don't want my kids to feel left out, so I buy them cards and candy to hand out to their classmates at school (although more parents this year passed out non-candy items, which I am for sure going to do next year).  But I don't buy cards with licensed characters.  And for my husband?  A lemon meringue pie, made from scratch.  It's his favorite dessert, and I never make it because I dislike making pie, and I don't like lemon desserts.  And I threw away (almost) all of the kids' candy.

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