Embracing Valentine's Day. Finally."Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world."
When I was young and a great deal more cynical, I resisted the siren call of “Hallmark” holidays. I refused to celebrate Valentine’s Day and couldn’t wait for all the hoopla to disappear or be superseded by the next holiday. This changed when I met my husband 22 years ago in New York on February 14th. I never looked back. I began to understand that even hackneyed traditions had their place. Valentine's Day springs from the Roman festival of Lupercalia, a celebration of Spring and fertility, and then it became converted centuries later by the Christians to St. Valentines Day. I ultimately realized that a calendar invitation to express gratitude and love can be authentic, even among all of the commercial come hither. So I began to celebrate the spirit of the day and ignored the forced pre-fixe date dinners and heart-shaped boxes.
When our daughter was in preschool, we were instructed to make, not buy, our Valentines for the teachers and all of her classmates. I took that assignment a tad too seriously. The weekend preceding the holiday, Fi and I spread out on the floor with stacks of art supplies. She soon drifted off, but I spent the weekend making elaborate mixed media creations with Fiona dropping in and out to contribute. My husband drily remarked that I put the same energy into preparing for a gallery show as I did for Fiona’s valentine debut.
When Fi came home with her shoebox of goodies, I realized that most parents went to Target to fulfill the assignment. Every mother of young children is overwhelmed after all, so who could blame them? My children vastly preferred Peanut themed Valentines with those little saccharine hearts tucked into them rather than my baroque creations. I eventually capitulated and began to buy the school Valentine’s Day cards going forward, but celebrated at home with more homemade creations.
Now more than ever, we need that prompt to pause, to feel grateful to someone else, and to celebrate the love and light that many bring into our lives -- romantic and platonic.
So here's to speaking from the heart, so to speak.