Valentine's Day is a sweet holiday - not just because of the chocolates and treats, but because it's a day to express love. However, I think it's been overtaken by consumerism and marketing. Advertisements suggesting that love is shown by a new piece of expensive jewelry or by Roses + Expensive Dinner + Chocolates + you-fill-in-the-blank can only raise expectations and lead to disappointments.
Managing expectations is a hard task.
On the one hand, I know that my husband loves me dearly, is unfailingly loyal, works hard, is fun to be with and I need nothing. Valentine's Day sales are simply an effort to part us from more of our money.
On the other hand, marketers tell me that I deserve this, that, or the other thing and that bauble or experience will confirm his love for me. And what woman doesn't enjoy a little extra-special attention?
What I know to be true wars with the "diva me." I know who will win now. We'll have a very nice candlelight dinner here at home which I'll make, he'll likely bring me flowers, and we'll have a wonderful time. But it wasn't always so. When we were younger I expected a lot more. Putting so many expectations on one day leads unfailingly to disappointment. I've learned his style over the years and he's adjusted to mine. I'm so glad he's my Valentine.
One thing my mother always did on Valentine's Day was to bake heart-shaped cookies. I did that today. I'll give some to our children - because I love each one of them, too. For me, Valentine's Day isn't just about romantic love. It's about friendship, parental love - all love, really.
The recipe I used is one from my mother-in-law, who got it from her mother. My husband's grandfather was Swedish and these cookies, faintly almond-flavored, with a meringue topping, were his favourites. You can find the recipe for Morkakor, Grandpa's Cookies, here.
I wish all of my readers a very happy Valentine's Day - may you know that you are loved.