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The most memorable part of this day to me

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I really don't "do" holidays at all. I ate a normal dinner on Thanksgiving - the Turkey Trot in the morning and, with no work, spending an afternoon with my kids being the only variations from a typical Thursday. This is true of all holidays, even the one my birthday falls on.

It started with growing up as a Jehovah's Witness. Holidays were not celebrated. Religious ones were pretty much considered corrupted with pagan rituals, commercial focus, and not directed by God to be observed. Secular holidays were putting too much focus on man rather than God. Birthdays were ... well, the only Bible ones involved very bad things happening (such as having John the Baptist beheaded) and promoted selfishness. The only celebration was the annual Memorial - following Jesus' command to "keep doing this in remembrance of me" applied to the passing of the wine and bread. It is done annually rather than at every Mass and only those considered amongst a special group of followers partake.

Even in school I was supposed to pass on the holiday activities and ask for non-holiday alternatives. Supposed to. Is it sad that I can remember making a pilgrim outfit in 2nd grade after assuring the teacher it was my decision, and knowing I couldn't take it home or wear it where my parents could see me?

There's plenty of other similar memories around holidays, such as getting yelled at for peeking out a window at Trick or Treaters because that made them come to our door, and sneaking out when we were supposed to be asleep to join the neighbors out setting off fireworks.

So, what do I remember of Valentine's Day? Very little. The class version I couldn't go get cards to pass out, so I had to have my name scratched from their lists because it wouldn't be fair. That meant I sat and wrote or colored while the other students decorated their bags, I suppose.

What I ~DO~ remember is my mother marrying her 4th husband (one of many in line at the City office for a civil ceremony), the reception to be held in a local park two days after. On the morning of the reception, running errands with the EX, I started having contractions, and we stopped by my mother's house. She timed them ... and off to the hospital we went.

So instead of being in the park, I was across the street at the hospital giving birth to DS - with various family taking turns coming across to visit the newcomer. (None of my labors, at least the hospital portion, lasted more than an hour and change.)

Later years saw me buying little stuffed animals for the kids, mostly, but without any super focus that we HAD to do something for the day.

In fact the most recent memory I have is from around 6 or 7 years ago. I'd gotten into the habit of buying flowers weekly from the local CostCo. Good price and I liked having a vase sitting out because it brightened the room. Then a couple weeks before Valentine's Day it felt like the prices tripled and the quality dropped.

I was disgusted and quit buying flowers completely.

So ... the most memorable part of this day to me? My mother marrying #4 and hating the floral industry's greed on this day.


What I tend to do instead is pick completely random days to "celebrate" things that are important. I have a friend greeting card I picked out to mail to my best friend - and wrote "Happy Bestest Friend Day" in it. Every day is Happy Bestest Friend Day. Every day is Love My Children day. Ditto for gift-giving. I do it spontaneously whenever I have the means and know something they'd like.

So don't feel obliged to celebrate this day or to follow some imaginary rules for how it should be celebrated. Sure, let those you love know you love them - but do that every day you think to do so.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Just curious, are you still follow the Jehovah's Witness faith? I am not judging you in any case, I'm just wondering. It sounds like it may have been hard as a kid to feel like an outsider. Did you feel that way or if so, did it bother you or not?

    I love your idea to celebrate other times.. and if everyone would do that, we would not need holidays! LOL! DH and I had our first date on Feb. 9th so we try to celebrate then and on our actual wedding anniversary in May. I WISH my bestest friend would make some time for me.. but then she isn't making any for herself either.. I get it, but I do not like it.
    2312 days ago

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    2313 days ago
    I prefer it when my boyfriend surprises me with flowers - I'd rather have them as an occasional treat than him buying me ridiculously overpriced roses on V-day.
    2315 days ago
  • SASSY5468
    Thank you for explaining how it was for you growing up. Too few people understand how it is for Jehovah's Witnesses. I've known a couple and totally respect their beliefs.

    I love how you approach the holidays! My boyfriend and I don't really follow them either. We got friends and relatives to stop giving us Christmas gifts by asking them not to and telling that, in lieu of gifts, we were donating to charity instead. And that's exactly what we've been doing for 3 years now :) It's so nice not having all of that JUNK lying around to dust in case that person comes over and doesn't see it sitting out! I don't like feeling obligated to buy gifts, and I don't want anyone feeling obligated to give me one either :)

    You rock!
    2316 days ago
    2316 days ago
    I love every holiday and celebrate them, even when I'm all alone, like this afternoon. I'm wearing pink slacks and s shirt with light and dark pink flowers. I have flowers on the dining room table (cheap, from the supermarket) and a small bowl of candy hearts on the kitchen table. And I said Happy Valentine's Day to everyone I saw this morning.
    But my favorite holiday is the 4th of July. My children are all adults and live in other states, but they also celebrate. That doesn't take a thing away from our every-day love and patriotism. Its just a fun thing to do. Lighten up, guys.
    2316 days ago
    2316 days ago
    I think you celebrate the better portion and focus. :)

    I grew up in a home where a big deal was made over every possible holiday, yet I never felt loved, or taken care of. It took me a long time to make peace with holidays in general. I still don't like the prosribed commercial aspects of any of the holidays, and go to great lengths to avoid the contrived.

    I've, however, gotten to a place where while I've always viewed every day as an opportunity to celebrate the people and blessings in my life, I appreciate the holidays for the rhythm they give life, the opportunity to create a family identity and extra special traditions, and as a reminder to create the extraordinary out of the ordinary.

    ...Good thing, too, because our daughter is fiend for pomp and SPLENDOR... she likes life BIG and loud, and DECORATED, LOL!

    I hope your day hits the spot just as it is! :)

    2316 days ago
  • KSJD711
    Thanks for shedding light on the jehovah witness traditions. I had no idea. On the other hand, I think I need to celebrate some bestest friend days. Good idea. Me, I love holidays and am feeling guilty that I haven't done much.
    2316 days ago
    I don't really do holiday's either and I was brought up just the family got all big around the holidays and I was always the bah humbug...I would rather have spontaneous thoughtful deeds done to me for no good reason and vice versa.
    2316 days ago
  • LGAR519
    I can't imagine growing up like that. But as long as you aren't bitter-------
    2316 days ago
    Good attitude...certainly beats being grumpy for a day, because you don't measure up to what the cartel of greeting card companies, flower shops and candy vendors insist you should be feeling (aka the urge to spend money on their products). :)
    2316 days ago
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