Happy Valentine’s Day
Three seemingly innocuous words. For a very longest time though, I would have rather scalded the roof of my mouth with hot coffee than mutter those words. I hated Valentine’s Day and felt no need to celebrate it. So much, in fact, that C, wanting to propose over this particular weekend seven years ago, felt the need to get down on one knee on Friday the Thirteenth. He knew that I would not want my incredibly significant day associated with this particular holiday, the one I consider absurdly artificial and arbitrary (In my opinion, V-day leads to one of two things; single people feeling lonely, and paired people feeling inadequate. Neither is fun.).
But, as cliché as it may sound, becoming a parent changes everything. It changes your perspectives, and your thought processes, and your attitudes.
Somewhere along the line, I realized that I don’t hate the day itself, or Saint Valentine, or by any means, the concept of love. What I hate, or more appropriately, am annoyed by, is our culture’s concentration on romantic love as if it the only felicity to be celebrated (BTW, the current Hallmark company line – “Happy Valentine’s is not to say ‘I love you’, but to say, ‘I love us’!” - is a perfect example).
Another case in point – my lunch break today. I took a run to enjoy the beautiful weather, but I forgot to pack my gym socks. I carried my credit card, and decided I would stop at the CVS a block away to pick up a pair on the way out. Not possible; there was a thirty-person-deep line, each member with various articles of pink or red in their hands, waiting for the registers. Romance, folks, does not involve a day-of stop at CVS to “show you care”. It just doesn’t. What are the recipients of these gifts going to think? “Oh, you stopped at CVS on your lunch break?! Wow, thanks for pulling out all the stops to woo me.”
What is, however, worth celebrating is the love that surrounds us. All too often, with our emphasis on the notion of romantic love, we forget to say "I love you" to our mothers, our fathers, brothers, sisters, inlaws, friends. Valentine's is a perfect excuse to celebrate the heck out of these loves, these all important individuals who are not our significant others. Having a child, and learning to understand a completely new and overwhelming kind of love, has helped me learn this lesson.
Growing up, you know who never let me down on Valentine's? My mom. She always sent a card, all the way through law school, and for at least a few years after that. I was either too immature, or too petulant, to recognize what this meant. But, being a mom myself, I finally understand why she did it, and why we all should do this. This is, after all, a day to celebrate love.
So, thank you Mom, for reinforcing this principle. I finally get it, and I look forward to arts-and-crafts pink and red hearts, helping H prepare for his class parties, and maybe one day, receiving a handmade card from the little man (we're a long way from that point). To everyone I say, Happy Valentine's Day! Cherish those that you love, even if it's not the movie version.
Vocab Words of the Week: "E-I-E-I-O" (Old MacDonald), "Duck", "Up", and an inquisitive "Hmmm"....