I’ve found that as people have gotten older, they scoff at the idea of Valentine’s Day, because over time, they’ve subscribed to the rhetoric that this holiday is a capitalist construct that feeds off of naïve, love-sick saps. Yet, deep down, some of us want to love it, just like some of us want to believe the tooth fairy is real again. Although we are aware of the holiday’s mawkishly sentimental traditions, it brings us back to childhood joy.
Think back to your first memory of Valentine’s Day. You were probably in the first or second grade, at the store with a parent, scouring the isles to find the perfect Valentine’s Day themed cards- one that perfectly represented who you were as a person and the different facets of your personality. Ah, perfect…N’SYNC. Oh, it only comes in a pack of ten? Okay, I’ll get Chicago Bulls too (because I’m cool like that, and this will show everyone I’m the sporty-kind-of-gal). Now comes the time to go down a list of everyone who’s in your class and fill out the cards, then suddenly…boom. Your crush. You look at every card to find one that makes them think, “Wow, who’s this person? They totally get me.” I spy Michael Jordan. Do you write a subtle message? No, you keep it casual…I mean, you don’t want them to know, right? Or do you. Drawing a heart is too much…but…what if it’s super small? Not next to the name, that’s too obvious. How about in between “To” and “From”. That’s it. Now it’s time to tape candy to each perforated card.
Fast forward to middle school. Most girls are getting red roses, stuffed animals, and heart-shaped balloons so big that you can spot them from the other end of the building. This either brings you back to a really wonderful time in your life, or maybe you’re like me and received a single red rose in your locker to only find out it was from your mom. As a mom now myself, I can think of 100 reasons why this would be the sweetest thing to do for your child. As a 7th grade girl, I was trying to avoid telling my friends (each holding a bouquet of roses) that it was from my own mom, while also trying not to lie about who it’s from, knowing they’d inevitably run up to this boy and ask him about the flower he never put in my locker. The horror.
Now jump ahead to the first Valentine’s Day you ever truly got excited for. Maybe it was with your current spouse, or perhaps you’re remembering your very first love. It was that “can't eat, can't sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of stuff." Either one person or the both of you planned, plotted, surprised and went out of your way to make that day special. For days leading up to it, you were giddy.
What happened since then? Have you stopped celebrating? If not, kudos to you. For the rest of us, life happens. We celebrate, but just not like that. We become more jaded during this holiday than the rest, and why? Because society is telling us to celebrate love and we insist on doing it on our terms? Are we that stubborn? So here is my challenge to you: try again. Don’t just do what feels romantic, but do something that tells the other person, “I went out of my way”. Ordering in and sharing a bottle of wine? So romantic- but what makes it different from the last time you ordered in and drank some wine?
Who knows, nostalgia might be good for our souls during these weird and unfamilar times. Create a memory this year that will have you looking back in ten years just as you did moments ago. Whether it’s for a child, a parent, or your significant other, have fun with it. Let’s keep those butterflies alive.
To help you get the ball rolling, I want to write the little love in your life a personalized rhyming valentine- my GIFT to you! My passion is to write and rhyme, which means this is THE perfect holiday for me. My rhyming children’s book, Mommy, Am I?, is all about preserving a child’s imagination and joy, so what better way than to send a valentine’s day card from my main character, Theo! He is full of love and wonder, and wants to make your heart flutter :). Visit the link below and be surprised!
*Deadline to Submit: February 3
**You Will Receive Your Valentine by February 7th, which gives you plenty of time to print, postmark, or read it aloud for the little love in your life!