V-Day B-day

By Julia Sklar
Published: February 2010

Grocery establishments really seem to enjoy kitschy holiday decorations. You name it, they’ll decorate for it. You know what I mean? Christmas, Halloween, Groundhog Day, doesn’t matter.

Those plastic streamers will cascade from the ceiling, Mylar balloons will hover above each checkout aisle, and cheery window decals will greet the parking lot with “C’mon, Punxsutawney Phil, you can do it! Valentine’s Day is also one of these lucky holidays, and as the Valentine baby that I am, in my naïve younger years I was absolutely certain that these decorations were in honor of my birthday, not some fat baby with a bow and arrow.

You have to understand, being a Valentine baby is exceptionally complicated, and the associations change from year to year. From preschool through to the end of elementary school I was essentially Queen of February Fourteenth’€that was back when we had Valentine’s Day parties in class, and not only were there cupcakes for my birthday, but there were all kinds of cookies and candy for Cupid, too.

For receiving Valentines, everyone else got a bag that blandly said, “Happy Valentine’s Day! but I always got one uniquely marked with “Happy Valentine Birthday, Julia! and I got to wear a crown. What more could a girl ask for?

Those were the years when the biggest problem facing me on my birthday was whether signing my first grade crush’s Valentine with “Love, Julia instead of just “’€Julia was too provocative, or whether the “J on my cupcakes should be pink or red.

Second grade was the only year I was threatened with dethroning. My regular teacher, out for maternity leave, was replaced with a staunch, tight-bunned, glasses-on-the-tip-of-her-nose substitute who cancelled our Valentine’s Day party and made me put my cupcakes back in my locker, where they remained for the rest of the day, uneaten. I still haven’t gotten over it.

Understandably, things kind of died down in middle school, with regard to the complications of my birthday. Middle school is like a wasteland of nothingness with a few specks of awkwardness thrown in here and there. We didn’t bask in the frivolities of icing covered, candy strewn Valentine’s Day parties anymore, deeming them too “childish.

But really, when are you ever too old for a candy heart with the words “Kiss Me imprinted on it? No one gave out Valentines anymore, and couples merely consisted of hand holding for a week before the tragic breakup of soul mates. At this age, my birthday is neither rewarded with sugar-filled parties nor challenged by friends in legitimate relationships.

This year, however, is different. February 14 is a triple threat: my birthday (most important aspect of the triad, obviously), Valentine’s Day, AND the Chinese New Year. Oh boy.

But it’s all good. When you tell people your birthday is on Valentine’s Day, they always give you an adoring smile and it makes my birthday not just any other day in the year.

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