Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

What am I up to? Well, I'm looking for my heart shaped cookie cutter so I can cut a store bought lasagna into heart shapes to make dinner extra special tonight!

Being more serious for a moment (yes, you've been warned), Valentine's day has always been an odd little holiday to me. I remember elementary school Valentine's day because school policy was (thank goodness!) that if you brought something in, you had to bring it for the whole class. I also remember making valentine's day boxes at home with my mom, covering old shoe boxes with tissue paper and lace hearts, glitter and confetti and ribbon. Those were the good years.

I remember when I started my first serious relationship in high school and I remember the beginning most clearly because I had been asked out by a friend whom I liked very much and I told him that we could date as long as we didn't start dating on Valentine's day. I know, I know. You're thinking that I just wanted an excuse to ask for presents two days in a row but the truth is I simply thought it was too cliche.

That relationship lasted for a few years and ultimately broke off, but Valentine's day continued to enforce itself as a holiday to pay attention to.

I ended up at Northern Illinois University to finish my bachelor's degree (English, in case you want to judge me. I don't mind). I only spent one semester in the dorms there, but I'll never forget the Valentine's day I spent in that room. I was playing WoW and at the time, I was in a guild with several friends who also lived in the area.

One of them wrote in guild chat, "NIU is on the news. There was a shooting."

It is a really weird feeling to see your college - your typical, nondescript state university, known for nothing special - make the first page of news websites. In shock, I learned that someone had hidden guns in his guitar case, gone into a lecture hall, and shot whomever he could. There was this odd disconnect. I had walked past that building many times.

It's been several years but Valentine's day is still a time that I can't help but reflect on what had happened and on the sheer number of lives that were affected by it. When I rented a room in a house that summer, I remember staying up late talking with a roommate whose teacher had been in that room.

Well, if I've succeeded in depressing you a little bit, I apologize. Every day cannot be Christmas! Tomorrow, stay tuned for a heartwarming story of when my then internet boyfriend, now husband gave me a Valentine's day gift that I still cherish and use to this day!

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