Evidently, the Emperor of Rome (Claudius II Gothicus) in the third century thought single soldiers fought best, he was not too happy to lose a healthy young soldier to marriage. As one of the stories goes, Catholic priest and doctor ~Valentine, was killed on February 14th for common legend stated that he defied the emperor’s orders and secretly married couples to spare the husbands from war. Centuries later and with a little help of Shakespeare’s romantic prose and some effective marketing, Valentine’s Day has been refined into the Day of Romance, exploding with presents, dinners, chocolates, roses and sweetly crafted Valentine’s cards.
Fast forward to the present ~ and the pressure’s on!
If you’re separated and/or newly divorced you may want to skip the holiday altogether in lieu of haunting memories from the year before. Single co-parents on the dating scene may be skulking around or altogether apathetic. If they are happily dating they could be skipping around the house acting like a teenager themselves. All these scenarios send a myriad of mixed signals to the kids who may be trying to figure out their place in a holiday devoted to romance.
Remember Valentine’s Day can cause a ton of social pressure for school-aged kids as classes offer ‘candy-grams’, parties and card exchanges where kids feel the pressure if they do not send or receive the best, the biggest or the most Valentine’s wishes. Either way, there is an opportunity for dads to reinvent the tradition or at least frame it at home to the benefit of all.
Consider this alternative, make your kids your Valentine. With a little creative thinking, you may be able to fashion a candy-gram that outshines them all. I don’t care if you have a son or a daughter, done with the right humor and affection you can relieve a little holiday pressure on the kid and create some memories while your kid tries to figure out how to navigate through the twisting white waters of the primary and secondary school social scene.
An alternative maybe for you and your kids to team up on making Grandma the target of your affections and remember, the bigger the unexpected surprise the better. It’s okay if flowers and chocolates are not the right fit for Grandma, perhaps a nice dinner and some quality time hits the right notes. Find the right answer for you and the family and focus on the act of togetherness and sincere affection and everyone will win.
In any case, you will reinvent a holiday that can be marked with awkward moments if the timing is not just right. So this Valentine’s Day consider making it a family affair while the kids are still young.