I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. To me it’s just a set up for failure and disappointment. Single people feel like crap about themselves because they don’t have someone. People who are away from their significant others feel even more like crap because they can’t be with the one they love. People in a committed relationship are hurt or disappointed by their significant other because something went wrong, someone forgot or the plans didn’t live up to the grand romantic gesture they had in their head.

Not that I judge those that get excited about Valentine’s Day. I understand to some it is a very exciting, happy day. Unfortunately, most Valentine’s Days seem to be pretty crummy for me. Either I’m out of town or Joel has to work and it seems like we’re always sick. There are a few that stand out as particularly awful though and I am positive that they contributed to my cynical attitude about the day. So, for your enjoyment, I present

My top 3 worst Valentine’s Days ever:

3. Valentine’s Day 2004. I had just turned 18. I was currently dating a boy I had known since I was 12. We’d both had crushes on each other over the years but we’d only started dating officially the previous October. He was a couple years older than me and was a marine stationed in North Carolina. I was young, in love, and convinced that someday we were going to get married. I drove out with his family to visit him at the beginning of February because he was about to be deployed to Iraq. He was deployed on February 12th. I drove back and spent that Valentine’s Day a weepy, miserable mess.

2. Valentine’s Day 2007. I was 21. Joel and I had been married for almost a year and were celebrating our very first Valentine’s Day as a married couple. Despite my cynical attitude about the day I was excited to finally celebrate this holiday like a married couple for the first time. I thought maybe the reason this day hadn’t gone so well for me over the years was because I wasn’t married and so I was planning on a nice, romantic evening alone with my love. The day dawned and we happily went off to work. Joel was complaining of a bit of an upset stomach but I didn’t think much of it. By the time we were both done with work though he was not at all okay. He had some sort of stomach virus and could barely stand because he was in so much pain. I took him home and put him to bed, disappointed because the day wasn’t filled with hearts, flowers and romance like I expected. At the time we lived on the second floor of a three story apartment building. Couples lived above, below and beside us. The walls were very thin. I will never forget laying next to my poor new husband, doubled over in pain beside me, while listening to the sounds of three couples, um, enjoying each other. It was like a surround-sound soundtrack to a really lame porno. Definitely not the night I expected.

And my number one worst Valentine’s Day….

1. Valentine’s Day 2000. I was 14 years old. My whole family, minus my dad and little brother, had been sick with a killer flu for the last couple of weeks. We were all still very sick and were laying on different couches or chairs in the living room listening to books on tape. This was all we had energy for, even watching movies was too much for us because we were just that sick. Our twenty year old family dog lay at our feet. She was sick as well, but for her it was just from old age. My dad came into the room and picked her up to carry her away. She was so old she could barely get up to go outside, she was miserable. Instead of taking her outside to go to the bathroom though he said we should each say goodbye. He was taking her to the vet to be put to sleep. I was so sick I could hardly get out of the chair to hug her. I begged my dad to wait until at least the next day, to please not do it on Valentine’s Day. That was appointment that he had though and he didn’t know when he could get another one. I understood that she needed to be put out of her misery. She was 140+ years old in dog years. I loved that dog so much though. I still get teary about it ten years later. For me, Valentine’s Day will always mark the day my childhood dog died. I miss you, Trixi.

These are the reasons I now choose to skip Valentine’s Day. No card company or calendar is going to dictate how or when I show my love for Joel. We love each other very much and we don’t need any candy hearts to prove it.