Valentine's Day is not the same for everyone. A difference in background, and unusual working hours may lead to celebrating the meaning of the day in non-traditional ways.
Case in point is the first Valentine's Day after Jeremy and Allison Anderson first met. "We'd only had a couple of dates," she said. In addition, there was really little chance for any special Valentine's dinner. She was a pediatric ER nurse working the night shift in a Memphis, Tennessee, hospital. He was manager of a restaurant, and, of course, very busy on Valentine's Day.
Allison was surprised that he arrived at the hospital during her shift - with gifts. "He brought a bunch of multicolored tulips, a strawberry cupcake and dinner," she said. She wasn't expecting this and thought it meant something - in fact, he just might be a keeper!
By the time their second Valentine's Day rolled around, they were engaged and a month from getting married. They had reservations at an Italian restaurant.
With work and family obligations, many things, including Valentine's Day, is not a given. "Nowadays, it may not be on the exact day," Jeremy said. Still, they manage to make the most of the occasion.
This year is their first Valentine's Day in California. Allison is now busy as a stay-at-home mom with 3-year-old Lillie and 1-year-old Ella, awaiting the arrival in April of Levi. Jeremy's service to the community as pastor of California First Baptist Church keeps him very busy.
While they have nothing planned for the exact date of Valentine's Day, they have planned a few days at the Lake of the Ozarks in March, only a couple of weeks after the actual Feb. 14 date. The Saturday after Valentine's, the newest five couples who have come into the church, and the Andersons will have a cooking class. The six couples will learn to cook the dinner, and then dine on the food they have prepared.
In addition to work hours, background is different for the Andersons. While Jeremy grew up in Tennessee, Allison grew up the daughter of missionaries in Cuernavaca, Mexico. In 1984, they started a Baptist church in the city, which is the capital city of the state of Morelos, about an hour and a half south of Mexico City.
Allison said Valentine's Day is celebrated in Cuernavaca with candy and flowers, and pictures drawn for parents, very much like in the U.S. In addition, the tradition of naming children after the saint, on whose day they were born, meant there were a number of young men and boys named Valentino and young women and girls named Valentina. Residing in Mexico from 3 months-17 years old, Allison went to public kindergarten, then was homeschooled. She returned to the U.S. for her university schooling, then went to work as a registered nurse in Memphis.
Jeremy grew up in Memphis, becoming a Christian when he was 15. For his family, Valentine's Day was mainly the candy and cards done at school, and with the family. During his years in the restaurant business, Jeremy reported noticing that in the restaurant and mall, Valentine's Day morning was busy with men, apparently picking up last minute gifts. In the afternoon and evening, the staff was busy with couples.
For the Andersons, though the exact day may not be possible, they plan to keep a tradition of Valentine's Day in the general period of time.