My dad used to give me a little box of candy every year on Valentine's Day, and he'd give my mom a large one. One year he gave me 6 red roses, and told me that my first dozen must come from a man who loves me. Well, that never happened, and he's gone now, but somehow it's a memory I truly cherish, because it was done with such complete love. I don't remember when the candy tradition ended, sometime around when my parents divorced, when I was 15.
Don't get me wrong, I never asked for the dozen roses, or felt it was some sort of right! It was just somehow, well, Dad said it would happen, so I assumed it would. :-) Because I loved him completely, too, even though we ended up living so far apart, until he died two and a half years ago.
My mom gave me a card every year, and of course I always made one for her. Sometimes we added little gifts. When I was 14, she gave me my stuffed lion, Jean-Serge. I still have him. She died when I was 24, otherwise I expect we'd have continued the tradition.
For a long time during marriage, Valentine's Day became this serendipitous thing for me. Once in awhile, there'd be some big ol' surprise, a great surprise. Most of the rest of the time, murmurings about commercialism. So, having so many kids and just wanting some fun in the middle of winter, I'd come up with little surprises for them each year, and we'd make some fun treat to eat. When they were little a couple of them would sneak a card onto my pillow, as well. It was very sweet.
So that's what it came to mean to me; some small gesture of affection I received from my parents and then gave to my children. Now I am reflecting on this because this year it's just me and the three boys, all teenagers, nice boys, but not into hearts and flowers. It didn't matter that much until it was "suddenly" no longer relevant.
I'm not in a great hurry to become a grandparent, but it will be nice to someday have small people to share the fun parts of love. My mom died before she was able to do that with my children, but I hope to live a long time into the future.