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Morning Coffee | The Ghost of Valentines Past

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Er, I feel I have to acknowledge the date on the calendar, even although this year Terry and I are postponing the Valentine’s celebrations until next week. It’s not that we have anything against the day itself, I hasten to add: I’m not one of those people who like to get all high-and-mighty about how you “don’t need a special day to show your love!”, or anything like that. And, I mean, it’s true that you don’t need a special day, obviously, but it’s also true that any excuse for champagne and a nice meal is a good excuse as far as I’m concerned, and if it happens to come courtesy of a Hallmark holiday, well, so be it.

Morning Coffee on Valentine's day

No, we’re postponing Valentine’s day purely because we didn’t get our act together in time to book something for tonight, and as we’ve never really attached huge significance to February 14th, anyway, we weren’t all that bothered about it. We’ll try to arrange something for next week, instead, but I’m not ruling out the champagne for tonight. I never rule out champagne…

Anyway, as the week has been another uneventful one, I thought it might be fun to stick with the Valentine’s theme for this post, and take a look back at some of those old journals I’ve been keeping since I was ten years old, to see what I had to say about Valentine’s day in the past. I imagined the diary entries from my younger self would provide a hilarious dose of teenage angst (because nothing says “Valentine’s Day” quite like the relentless misery of a 15-year-old who didn’t get any cards, is there?), and maybe even a few random acts of stupidity, for good measure.

red glass heart and heart-shaped trinket boxes

As it turns out, though, in all of those many years of journalling, I actually only wrote about Valentine’s day a couple of times. One of those times was during the epic bout of self-loathing that lasted from my early teens until well into my 20s, and it was honestly SO full of angst (and yes, self-loathing: how novel!) that it was too painful for me to even read it all, let alone want to reproduce it here. I mean, SERIOUSLY. I wouldn’t be a teenage girl again, even if you paid me in solid gold shoes, or calorie-free Creme Eggs. Best years of your life, my ass.

The other diary entry was this one, from when I was 14 years old:

“Valentine’s day, and the postie didn’t bring anything for me. X [my best friend at the time] didn’t get anything either, so it wasn’t too bad. [Because yay! Thank goodness my friend didn’t get a card! That would have REALLY sucked!] Wednesday is our school’s half day, so when I got home I checked the letterbox and there was a pink envelope their [sic] with ‘Miss Amber Louise McNaught’ on the front with no stamp or postmark. It was a Valentine’s card with no signature, handwritten verses or anything, it just said “Annon” . I’m sure it was my Grandad who sent it, either that or my parents, the writing is mature. I only wish, though…”

OK, so although “mature writing” sounds dodgy as hell, I’m pretty sure it would’ve said ‘Anon’ (Unless ‘Annon’ is someone’s name, and I’ve been wrong about this all these years…), and the spelling and grammar in this entry makes me cringe, I do remember this card, and in many ways this was the best Valentine’s card I ever got.

The thing is, I didn’t just suspect the card was from my grandad: I was 100% sure it was. The (mature!) handwriting was definitely his, he was one of the few people in the world who would address me as “Miss Amber Louise McNaught”, and, well, it was exactly the kind of thing he would do. I knew this at the time, and I remember (although apparently didn’t bother recording) that it almost made me cry to think of him going and buying it, and then driving round to the house while I was at school to post it, just so I’d know someone loved me. I was so stupid, of course, that I wished the card was from that boy I liked from school, but now I’m glad it was from my grandad – I only wish I had told him that at the time.

coffee and hearts

I wouldn’t be 14 again if you paid me: but if I could, I’d go back in time just once, and tell my 14-year-old self to forget that boy who would never love her, and cherish the people who did. That’s what Valentine’s day should be all about.

(I’d also tell her about the differences between ‘there’, ‘their’ and ‘they’re’. Because that’s important, too.)

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16 Comments
  • Cat
    February 14, 2015

    Lovely post – thank you!

  • Sun
    February 14, 2015

    Beautifully written post.

  • Leila
    February 14, 2015

    How sweet of your granddad to do that for you! I’m not sure I’d be 14 again either…but I’d love to see my grandparents again. Or I’d go back if I could keep everything I’ve learned, and try making different choices just to see what would be different!

  • Fran
    February 14, 2015

    D’aww! Your grandad sounds adorable. It’s amazing how important high school crushes seem at the time, and how little they really count…

  • Becky
    February 14, 2015

    Oh God, this is lovely! I’m now going upstairs to check my own diaries for Valentine’s entries!

  • LydiaGrace
    February 14, 2015

    Crying? Me? No! *stifles sob*

    Your Granddad sounds so lovely, and I hope your belated date is too.

  • Irene
    February 14, 2015

    What a beautiful, sweet memory!

  • Myra
    February 14, 2015

    Knowing this we sent Marsha a valentine card signed “guess who?” For about four years and she and her friends pondered over it for the same four years, wondering who could have sent this series of cards. I only told her about five years ago, and she was devastated lol

  • Heather
    February 14, 2015

    When people get all nostalgic for their high school days I just don’t get it. I didn’t have an awful time per se, but best years of my life? HA. I would NEVER trade my life now to be teenager me. The angst! Oh god so embarrassing.

    Now the card from your Granddad? Too cute 🙂 That is such a lovely memory to have!

  • Amelia
    February 15, 2015

    The year my Dad died he sent his girls all a homemade valentines card. It’s the best one I’m ever going to receive and I get it out every feb 14th. You’re right: it is the people who love you who matter. And, yes their, there and they’re are important too!

  • Anca
    February 15, 2015

    Your grandad was so sweet, that’s a lovely memory. Happy postponed V day 🙂

  • Rachel
    February 16, 2015

    That was really nice of your Grandad, I’m not sure I’d have been impressed at 14 but definitely appreciated it now.
    I’ve never understood people who say they’d love to do their teenage years again! There’s nothing that would ever entice me to do it again, even knowing what I know now. I would, like you, happily go back and tell me things will get better, it doesn’t matter that that boy doesn’t like you others will and to certainly stay away from some boys haha but redo them? Never!

  • Terry
    February 16, 2015

    How very lovely of your granddad! I would have loved to have met him!

  • Nellie
    February 17, 2015

    Beautiful post, Amber. What a great reminder of what love is on this special day. Thanks for sharing a little bit of your grandad with us 🙂

  • Dara
    February 23, 2015

    Oh 14… I remember Valentine’s Day when I was 14. It was a disaster. Every Valentine’s Day during my teenage years were always disastrous. You’re lucky you had your sweet granddad 🙂

    I’m stopping by from Becky’s FF post. Greetings from Indonesia 😉

  • Amber
    February 28, 2015

    Aw wow that’s so sweet bless your granddad! My family never did that for me 😛
    I can’t believe your middle name is Louise! I’m Amber Louise too haha, seems to be a popular middle name! xo

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