Twenty years ago, a dozen long stemmed roses arrived in my college dorm– half a dozen white for friendship, half a dozen red for love.  That night, my date arrived from New York and took me to Sequoia’s for dinner on the Georgetown waterfront.  I still have the note that came with those roses, and a picture of what the bouquet looked like when it first arrived, along with many cherished memories of our romance that lasted over a decade.

Although our marriage did not last, we have a child that we continue to raise together, and ever since the divorce, I have fortunately had my son each year as my special Valentine.   With him, I’ve learned the importance of just acknowledging the day without going over-board.  So, regardless of whether there has been a love interest in my life around Valentine’s Day, I have always made sure that we have a special meal, flowers, and of course, chocolates.   And once he ceases to want to spend his Valentine’s Day with me, which is an imminent reality that I am well aware of, I’m going to continue with this new tradition of treating myself on V-Day because the fact is I’ve found it to be rather empowering to be able to reward myself on special occasions without relying on anyone else to make my day.

Let’s be honest, who knows you better than you know yourself?  No one.  You know what flowers you like, which sweets you prefer, and what your favorite meal is.  You know what movie you are really dying to watch or the book you can’t wait to read.  You know your own style and what outfit is going to make you feel sexy.  So, unless you are super clear about what you want, others will always fall somewhat short of your expectations because they cannot get inside your head.  As a result, I suggest you give people an A for effort, but if you want to fool-proof a special moment, plan it yourself.

Truly, V-Day is what you make of it, along with every other day of the year. Hopefully, we all tell our  friends and family how much we love them not just once a year, but on a regular basis.  In the meantime, don’t set yourself up for disappointment by holding out hope that any one particular person may or may not acknowledge the day the way you want– do it yourself!  Any unexpected gifts should just be a bonus, but you alone can guarantee your own happiness.  Do not rely on anyone else to make your day.

With that, I’m sending you all lots of XOXO for Valentines Day!