So, here we are. Stores are full of big red hearts filled with candy. Silk boxers patterned in Cupids or covered in “I love you” show up next to bustiers and feather trimmed lingerie, displayed prominently in every department store. February 14 is here. Another Valentine’s Day. Time to commence the annual this is just a greeting card holiday/ I hate Valentine’s Day/ can we just skip right to St. Patrick’s Day and green beer, please! grumbling.
No. Not me. I’ve made my peace with Valentine’s Day – and not just for half-price chocolate on February 15.
Oh, it wasn’t easy. I’m 46 and single. Twice-divorced, actually. I’m not dating anyone particularly important and there’s no one out there I’m hoping will change that status. All of the above puts me in the prime “I hate Valentine’s Day” demographic.
Except that Valentine’s Day is about love, and I choose to celebrate love in all its forms.
I consider myself very fortunate when it comes to love. For one, I have a few really great friends who are as important to me as anyone with whom I share blood. There are families we’re born into and families we choose, and I am very lucky that the family I choose manages to put up with me, my sometimes difficult attitude, and my habit of hibernating in solitude for long stretches of time. My BFFs are the family I choose and I love them.
Two more reasons I celebrate Valentine’s Day are a little boy and a little girl who, even though they’re all grown up now, will always be my babies. Having them in my life made me a better person. There were times when they were the reason I got up in the morning, why I didn’t give up or give in, why I put one foot in front of the other and just kept moving. When they were little, the Valentine’s Baby always brought them a box of chocolates and even to this day, that’s a tradition I still keep. If I forget, my daughter reminds me – “Where’s my chocolate, Mom?” My children taught me what it means to love completely.
Valentine’s Day is about love, and love is a 3-year old little boy who thinks playing hide-n-seek means crawling under the covers of my bed and giggling “Here I am, Nona!” when I start hunting for him, and love is a baby girl who’s all big blue eyes and wide, happy smile and the reminder that life goes on, one child at a time.
I celebrate Valentine’s Day because I’m grateful that love has been a part of my life. I fell in love with my first husband with all the passionate fervor of my youth and because I did, I have two beautiful children who have given me two beautiful grandchildren.
And I was lucky enough to fall in love again with a man who walked out of every dream I’d ever had and was everything I ever wanted and who, to be honest, I still love. My life is better because I had that experience, because I know what it feels like to love someone that much, to have feelings go that deep. Hurts like hell sometimes, too, but I like to think that even if I’d known in advance that this would be the price I’d pay, I would have risked it.
I celebrate Valentine’s Day because my mom is still with us, because I have brothers and a sister and aunts and uncles and cousins who share my memories and remind me of my roots.
I celebrate Valentine’s Day because it’s about more than lingerie and jewelry commercials and chocolate and overpriced flowers.
I celebrate Valentine’s Day because I’m surrounded by love and love is good.
So here’s your challenge – find your own reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day, one that is about you and your own life and not Hallmark or Godiva or 1-800-Flowers.
Happy Valentine’s Day!