It’s official, I’m out of the closet, I love Valentine’s Day!
I used to force myself not to like it. I reasoned that it made people that I love feel lonely, so I wanted to support them by not liking it. I also scoffed at how arbitrary the date was– complaining how it was a capitalistic excuse for more materialism. Last year, I went so far as to tell Alex that I did not want presents and that I did not care if he had the closing shift at work, (I thought that I was being generous to his coworkers that actually wanted the time to celebrate!).
Today, however, I realized that I do like Valentine’s Day, even if there are aspects of it that still annoy me, (like all of the horny men wandering around looking for flowers at the grocery store!). Despite the annoyances, it no longer bothers me that it is a day that we made up. So what– aren’t all holidays days that we made up on some level or another? Maybe this one is more recent, but I do not see anything wrong with a day based on love. After all, isn’t love critical to our happiness as human beings?
I’m not saying romantic love… Although, that kind of love is nice too. I’m just saying love. As an adult, I’m finding that Valentine’s Day is a day that I tell my friends, students, and family that I love them. I don’t tell them with expensive gifts, but with little gestures: a cut out heart with kind words, a card, a text, a phone call. In fact, it turns out that Valentine’s Day results in the greatest outpouring of token gifts and sweet little cards from my students of any holiday. I have a veritable mountain of candy and cards that make me feel appreciated! What’s so wrong with expressing our love this way?
In truth, I witnessed many little acts of love that made me happy to be alive today: A coworker’s husband marching across campus with a gigantic bouquet of roses, (to the sheer excitement of the 120 students watching at recess!). A student excited to deliver her one special hand-crafted valentine to a boy that she likes, (reminded me of the valentine that Alex made me in fourth grade!). My students treasuring the little valentines that I made them. My dad unexpectedly delivering a valentine to my school, complete with a generous donation for our upcoming field trip. Incredibly kind words of support emailed from my mom. A woman taking the time to pull into the grocery store parking lot just to cuss me out for changing lanes at the same time as she did, (okay, that happened, and it made me laugh, but maybe it doesn’t belong on this list!).
Even though I’m looking forward to seeing my husband tonight, it has been the acts of love from other people that have brightened my day so far. I’m sure he’ll make me smile too, when he gets home from work, but I’m realizing that Valentine’s Day is far more than a romantic holiday based on excessive consumerism. It’s a chance to tell people that they matter to you. If you’re feeling sad or lonely tonight, you’re entitled to dislike this holiday, I don’t blame you, but also consider reaching out to the people that you love. It will make them smile, and chances are, it will make you smile too!
|The valentines that I made for my students. It is amazing how a few kind words so clearly brighten their day!|
|Simon going nuts on one of my gifts from a student… oops!|
|You’ll be happy to know that the bear survived! Happy Valentine’s Day!|