14 February 2017

A Five-Year-Old's Valentine's Day

Flowers, chocolates, Krispy Kremes and a cheesy card… it’s 100% my thing. Even when I’m single, even when I don’t feel anything for anyone in particular, I love Valentine’s Day. I’ll tell you why.

My story begins on the 14th February 1998. It was a Saturday and I was in my parents’ bedroom when a card was delivered – a card for me! It was from my neighbour and school friend. I was besotted with him and even though he didn’t sign his name I knew it was from him. He had sellotaped a red-foiled chocolate heart to the inside of the card.

“It’s from him. It’s definitely from him,” I said.
“How do you know?” my mum said.
“Because he gave our teacher the same chocolate heart yesterday!”

I had observed that, and even been slightly jealous of our teacher. Now I was beaming.

He had signed it with a big question mark. Guess who?

Then, my sister, Emily, took me to the shop to buy a card and bag of white mice. I hid behind a nearby wall while she posted it through his letterbox, we ran home and it was never spoken of again.

All Valentine’s days since that one in 1998 have been like Christmas. I get an exciting, unexpected, magical feeling of the unknown.

What is the point in Valentine’s Day? Growing up I believed it to be a chance to tell the person you like that you like them without revealing your identity. That was the most exciting part of my first Valentine – the gamble of sending my reply to the right person. Wouldn’t you be thrilled to receive an anonymous love note through your letterbox today?

There are more upfront ways of telling someone you like them, but where’s the fun in that? Even after 36 years of marriage my left-handed dad writes his card to my mum with his right hand, and leaves it by the front door as if delivered by a secret admirer.

There are many other Valentine’s days I could recall, but this was the best, and the precedent for all the rest. I sound like a total dreamer, but it makes me glad I’ll never be someone who doesn’t believe in Valentine’s Day. Aren’t there worse things to be cynical about?



  1. I broke tradition this year with a handmade and painted card and envelope and a basket of hyacinths. Never too old to change your ways and tell someone your love never fades.

  2. Lovely post! I remember getting a valentines day card as a kid and showing all my friends like super excited. I recently found out my parents had sent it - gutted, haha


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