Very Valentine

I consider myself pretty lucky that for the past 38 Valentine's Days, I've been assured of a date for the evening. Not that we always celebrate in style, especially in recent years. Sometimes sprawling out in our comfy clothes on the couch with some popcorn, a glass of wine, and a good movie on the DVR is everything our little hearts desire. Occasionally we're at our home in Naples on Valentine's Day and then we tend to do it up right, with a fancy dinner at Bistro 821 and a stroll down 5th Avenue. Oddly enough, two of my most vivid Valentine's Day memories don't even involve my husband. The first was the day I received my first marriage proposal. I was eleven years old, and it arrived in a handwritten note mailed to my house on Valentine's Day. It was from a boy in my class with whom I'd been in hopeless puppy love all year. "Dear Becky," the letter said, in his best loopy cursive. "When we grow up I want us to get married. We will move to Canada and live on a farm, where we'll have horses and cows and goats and sheep and cats and dogs. I love you very much."

As you can plainly see, it was a memorable missive, although even then I wasn't too keen on the whole farm thing.

The other Valentine's Day memory that is particularly special is related to my uncle, the one who passed away in 2009. When I was three years old, he started giving me a box of chocolates for Valentine's Day, and every year after that, without fail, he brought me a box of chocolates on February 14. Didn't matter what else was going on, I knew I could count of that box of candy from him every year.

Until 2007, when Alzheimer's Disease stole his memory and he forgot all about Valentine's Day. I never thought I would miss a box of candy so much.

Valentine's Day - like most of those "Hallmark Holidays" - gets pretty short shrift around our house. We tend to say, "Oh, we're too old for all that nonsense." Or "Don't buy me anything, there's nothing I really want."

But perhaps we shouldn't do that.

Because it's not about being young or wanting things, is it? It's more about being noticed- about someone taking the time to buy you a card and a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates. It's about doing something that makes you special and cherished.

And there's no age limit on the desire for those feelings.

I really do appreciate having a steady date for every Valentine's Day - not to mention every other day of the year.

Perhaps I should take this opportunity and let him know.

How about you? Do you do something special to celebrate Valentine's Day?