I have decided that I think Valentine's Day ought to be bigger than it is. No, I don't work for Hallmark or Future Florists of America or even Theo Chocolates.
As a kid I loved Valentine's Day. I can remember hand-picking which store-bought card went to which kid, lamenting over the excessive number of "Be Mine" messages since there were so few boys I wanted to send that particular card to. The construction-paper-decorated shoeboxes and certain knowledge that I would receive more than my fair share of Hershey's kisses, along with the party that kept us from doing any work all afternoon were indeed something to look forward to.
As a teen, my perspective on this holiday was based on whether or not I was currently dating anyone. If so, I was thrilled to have someone who would "be mine," and a little nervous about what exactly to give a teenage boy for Valentine's Day. If I was single, I sought solace in my other single girlfriends and we tried our hardest to avoid looking at the couples exchanging soulful looks and stealing kisses.
As a mother, I questioned the commercialism of the day, especially when the decorations went up on January 1st at our local drugstores. I encouraged the girls to craft their own cards for family members and schoolmates, but we all quickly ran out of patience with the glitter and glue and trying to find unique messages for each recipient.
One year when I just couldn't get it together to mail Christmas cards out on time, I found a sweet photo of Eve and Lola and ordered Valentine's cards for all the families on my Christmas card list. I think that was when it occurred to me that I had been limiting my notion of Valentine's Day unnecessarily.
Then I met Carrie. She is the embodiment of love. She is funny, honest, blunt, open and a true gift in my life. And her birthday is February 14th. And that was my tipping point.
I still craft special sentiments for Bubba and the girls every Valentine's Day. But I have expanded my celebration of February 14 to include every person in my life that I love. I am embracing Valentine's Day as an opportunity to stop and recognize how rich and full of love my life actually is. It isn't about sending cards or gifts to everyone I know, and more about stopping several times throughout the day to think fondly of my friends and family and consciously send love out into the Universe. And that is why I think Valentine's Day ought to be bigger than it is. What if Valentine's Day was about love, period? Romantic love, platonic love, love of self, all of it. As far as I'm concerned, that makes it much more important than St. Patrick's Day. And I'm married to an Irishman...