I love Valentine's Day.
I said it last year.
And I'm saying it again.
I love the proliferation of hearts and flowers that take over the stores. I love seeing my and my neighbors' flags fluttering across the neighborhood. I love watching the flower trucks zooming past the house on their delivery routes. I love the love songs that the radio stations pull out from the archives, sparking memories as I listen. I love the sappy television commercials (Well, except for that dumb one with the couple looking out the window during a storm where the crack of thunder makes her jump. Ugh. Really? Puhleeze.) and all the Hallmark movies with all the Hallmark ads. I even loved watching the two managers of my local grocery store set up their annual flowers and chocolates display at the entry to the store and listening in on their banter while they worked. I love it all.
I'm a sap. I know that. And I'm perfectly content with it. I like my sappiness. Frankly, I think that a few more people should give in to their inner sap more often. Instead, far too many folks seem to camp on their cynical, critical, jaded side. And this particular holiday seems to bring out the worst of it.
Oh, yes. I went there. I wasn't gonna do it. But I went there. And here's why.
I KNOW that what we experience as the "day-after-New-Year's" headlong media blitz and retail snow job called Valentine's Day promotion is overdone. I know it and I don't like it any more than the rest of you. But I don't buy into the commercialism of it all. I recognize that it's way overdone in the media. The car and jewelry and travel and chocolate ads are bent on selling us stuff we don't need.
(Well, okay, we all need some chocolate. And now that I stop to think about it, I might need a bit of a tropical vacation while I'm staring out at all the dirty snow in my front yard. But I digress....)
I also know we're "supposed" to show love and express love every day of the year. Really. And I do, every day. In countless, often menial and unnoticed ways. I mean, I am not scrubbing toilets and sorting stinky socks cuz I'm getting paid so well, right?
I also know that Hallmark and American Greetings and all the other card companies have been cashing in on the holiday. Yada yada yada. I know all that.
And I still don't care. I love Valentine's Day.
I LOVE VALENTINE'S DAY!
I think everyone needs to stop once in a while and play in the puddles of sappiness a little bit. I think everyone should pause and think about their first love for a moment. It is my firm opinion that everyone should take a stroll down memory lane and remember their favorite Valentine's Day. I think we all need a little mush. I am determined that we all ought to find a moment or two - or, say, a whole day! - to let the sentiments of all the glorious, lavish, crazy, sweet, innocent, and interesting kinds of love wash over us.
Husband and wives should take an extra minute to kiss a little naughty.
Don't worry, it won't kill the kids to see it - after all, it's Valentine's Day!
Parents should hug some extra and kiss the sweet faces
of their babies, no matter the age. And if you have teen boys like I do,
it might be the one day that they LET you be a little mushy
and maybe even be a little mushy back!
Siblings should stop and say "I love you" to each other
and acknowledge that the love they share
is vitally important to keeping a family healthy and growing forward.
Friends ought to take a moment and recognize
that their love is sustaining in good times and in bad.
You see, I come to this strong set of feelings out of a long history. My mom always made Valentine's Day special when we were kids growing up. A fancier than normal meal prepared just for the occasion. A card by our plate. A little box of chocolates or conversation hearts from my dad. A special, usually decadent dessert to share together. It wasn't over the top. It wasn't sensationalized. It wasn't commercialized. It was a pause in the regular routine of our busy home to acknowledge that the everyday love in our home was to be celebrated. To be cherished.
Later, my dad started a tradition when I went off to college of picking out a Valentine's card and sending it to me with a little something that every college kid loves: cash. And while I really appreciated the moolah, what I really treasured was the card. It was all done by him. (I suspect that ours was like many other families - most of the correspondence was from both of my folks but usually carried out by my mom, so his handwriting on the card took on special significance to me.) And even now, when I get that card in the mail addressed to The Boss and I in my Dad's script, I still feel a little thrill.
When the grandkids came along, he continued the tradition by picking out cute little cards for each one of them and tucking a crisp dollar bill inside. And each year, my kids LOVE the anticipation of seeing his distinctive handwriting on the card, addressed to each of them individually. They smile and delight in their "monies" (as Li'l Empress called it this morning) and they revel in the feeling that Grandpa (and Grandma - he signs it for her, too!) loves them. Even though my two oldest are far past the thrill of a simple dollar bill, they tuck it in their pockets with soft smiles. They GET what that card means. They know that they are loved.
And THAT, my friends is why I love Valentine's Day. It's a beautiful excuse to pause and appreciate the love you have in your life. It's the perfect reason to stop what you are doing and let the ones around you know in no uncertain terms how you feel about them. Celebrate love today. In whatever form it appears in your life - go and celebrate it simply or lavishly. Just be sure you do it.