When I was a kid, Valentine’s Day meant writing my name on tiny valentines I’d picked out so carefully with my mom. It meant tearing through my envelope or bag after school to see if I’d gotten any special valentines from anyone in my class. It meant getting some chocolate and a little special gift from my parents.
As I got older, Valentine’s Day meant looking wistfully at the couples at my high school, wishing I’d have my own stupid valentine some day. Stupid holiday for stupid lovers.
As an adult I’ve had more Valentines with someone special than without. On those when I was single, I tried to do something with my other single friends and try to avoid anything “romantic.”
When I started dating my husband, we’d try to do things together, but a lot of times, grand plans ended up derailed a bit, because for one day a year, everyone decides to go out to a romantic dinner. Soon, we figured out that it would be easier to just have a nice dinner at home and not even try to go out anywhere.
Now that we have kids, Valentine’s Day takes on a whole new meaning. Not only does it remind us of our love for each other, and how we started on this journey together, but the new lives that came from that love, and the three additional people we get to share our love with. (Yes, I know, it’s incredibly sappy, but it’s true.)
Love isn’t perfect. Sometimes it’s kind and patient, and sometimes it’s hurtful and impatient. Sometimes love embraces you like a hug and sometimes it kicks you in the gut. Love isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s downright hard. But love is also what holds us all together. It’s what binds people – lovers, friends, parents and children, families.
Though celebrating love once a year is fun for celebrations at school and gift giving, I’m going to try to carry on these feelings throughout the year. Why save all the specialness for one day? Why not make the feeling you have on Valentine’s Day last as long as you can? Or at least, when you’ve found yourself frustrated, tired, or upset 3 months down the road, make yourself a valentine. Remind yourself that you are special and loved, and work from there. Share that feeling with your friends, your kids, your family, your spouse, your love.
We don’t need a day to remember we love people, but sometimes our affections need a kick in the pants.
Happy Valentine’s Day!