It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day is the redheaded stepchild of celebrated holidays. It’s fueled by guilt that you must buy your mate chocolates and roses to prove your love. Stores thrive off of this expectation and provide rows upon rows of red and pink that you can’t help but feel drawn to with the promise of cute heart shaped candy and stuffed bears holding cards that say, “I Love You Beary Much”
I get it, I really do. Deemed the “Hallmark Holiday”, it’s over commercialized and holds no promise of a large family feast, fireworks, or green beer. And yet, I’ve started to come around to it. I mean, is a holiday dedicated to showing love really all that bad?!
I’m not just talking about the love between a couple here. Love is love is love is love after all. There’s the love between friends, the really good ones that you lean on in the hardest of times and laugh with during the best of times. The love between family, the people who encourage you to be your best, and accept you at your worst. The love between parent and child, unwavering and like no other.
As a young girl, I always looked forward to the Valentine’s Day parties at school. Pouring over all the little folded cards seeing who gave who what, as if 10-year-old boys were carefully curating which ones they gave out to which girl. In high school, our cafeteria was filled with roses and flowers that I would pass by with a hopeful heart that maybe one of them was for me. As I got older and started dating more seriously, I had boyfriends that lived up to all the classic expectations of the holiday. I enjoyed Valentine’s Day, but I also quickly grew tired of it.
Then I had kids, and like so many others, I suddenly found myself buying all the heart covered tees and stuffed animals with red ribbons to show my love for them. Like with every other holiday, I wanted to experience it through their unbridled joy and excitement. And so I give in to the Target dollar spot, the Reese’s hearts, the cute stuffed animals, and some Boulevard Chocolate Ale. OK, so maybe that last one is for me. I’ll grab a couple heart shaped plates with cute sayings, and my husband picks up some pink and red sprinkled donuts to surprise them for breakfast.
We’ve embraced the holiday for the kids, and anything we do for each other is just a bonus. I might take cookies for my coworkers, or gift cards to teachers, and maybe some little treats to anyone else I think needs to feel some love. I challenge you to do the same; to embrace this day of love. If anything, it’s an excuse to remind those you care about how much they mean to you. If you’re like me, you may just end up liking this little holiday after all.