For the past week, my Facebook feed has been filled with people who proclaim that Valentine’s Day is the worst holiday ever invented, that it’s just a reason for greeting card, candy and teddy bear manufacturers to make more money (not incorrect), and that it’s a horribly painful day for anyone who may have the great misfortune to not be in a relationship (or the uncomfortable position of having been dating someone for a few weeks and therefore being obligated to spend Valentine’s Day with them).
To these people, I say, QUIT WHINING.
Seriously. Do you really think that whining about not having a Valentine this year and moaning about all of the pink and red hearts everywhere is going to make anyone feel sorry for you? Guys, I’m a professional whiner. Seriously. If I could get paid for complaining, I’d be rich by now. Well, maybe not rich, but not broke. And even I am not one to complain about this.
Is Valentine’s Day kind of a stupid holiday? Of course it is. If you’re focusing on the cheese factor.
The teddy bears, the balloons, the candy, the cards, the pressure to create some sort of romantic experience for someone you may be madly in love with but also someone you maybe just think is only sort of okay, and don’t even get me started on people who get engaged on Valentine’s Day — all of that is super cheesy, and I get why it’s annoying and laughable. And yes, I’ve always felt this way.
But if you look a little closer, Valentine’s Day is a little bit different than what it’s become on the surface. It’s a day to celebrate love – not just romantic love, but love in general. And it’s a day to celebrate kindness and to show appreciation. I love the idea of buying a box of kids’ Valentine’s Day cards and handing them out with a piece of candy to random people all day long. The person who makes your coffee. The person who delivers your mail. The bus driver who takes you to work, or your kid to school. The person who rings up your groceries or brings you the fancy dinner that you didn’t have to cook for yourself. A random person on the street, just because why not? And one of these years I’m going to actually get my shit together and make this happen. This year wasn’t it.
It’s also a day to celebrate the love you have for the other important people in your life. See, regardless of whether you’re single or in a relationship, you definitely have special people in your life who deserve to know that you love them every day, yes, but also on Valentine’s Day. And don’t give me the crap about, “I don’t need a holiday to tell me that I love the people in my life, I tell them every day.” Great. Good for you. Do you want a medal for that? No one is saying that you only need to express your love and gratitude for the special people (or special someone) in your life on Valentine’s Day. You should do it every day. But Valentine’s Day is a reminder not only to express it, but to acknowledge it and be grateful for it as well. It’s like Thanksgiving — yes, you should be thankful for the blessings in your life all year long. But what’s wrong with taking a day to really focus on it? We’re so busy and so preoccupied most of the time that it’s easy to forget that we are so blessed, and it’s great to have a day or two every year where we’re reminded, hey, you have something special. And if it takes being knocked over the head with glittery pink and red balloons, well then so be it.
So here are a few lovey notes for my Valentines:
For my mom:
You are one of the strongest, most fiercely loving people I’ve ever met, and I know that I’m incredibly lucky to have you in my life. Your support and your guidance are irreplaceable.
For my dad:
You were the first man to ever be my Valentine. One of the most important jobs that a father has in a girl’s life is to set the bar high for any love she will ever experience, and between your love for me and the love you share with Mom, it’s going to take someone very special to ever come close. You have no idea how valuable that is, and I know that I’m very lucky to have it — a lot of girls don’t.
For my sister:
You were my very first frenemy, but you eventually became one of my best friends. You taught me how to fight (and fight back), whether it was against you or with you against someone else. You got me in trouble sometimes, but more than once you also got me out of it. And I’m so impressed by the smart, strong woman (and wife and mother) you’ve become, and for the friendship we have despite the miles and the very different lives we live.
For my brother:
Infuriating as you may be sometimes, you also manage to surprise the shit out of me with the things that you say. You’re incredibly smart, you take very little crap from anyone, and I know that one day you will find your version of happy and live the shit out of it, and you’ll do it your way. I admire you for that.
For my lady friends:
Whether you’ve been in my life for a month, three years, or always, you’ve played a very important role. Girlfriends are an incredible support system, especially when you’re away from family. Some of you have seen me through heartache, others have reminded me that I’m awesome when I needed to hear it the most. You’ve been my family, my home away from home, my shoulder to cry on and the tough love I needed from time to time. From weeknights cooking dinner together and watching TV, to weekends out dancing, to weddings and babies and all of the ups and downs in life, I have been so blessed to have each of you, and I love you to the moon and back.
For my nieces and nephew:
The three of you are so incredible in your own ways — Rachel, for your smarts and the way you love your younger siblings so fiercely; Haylie, for your sass and your remarkable fashion sense; Evan, for your sweet smile and kisses, your red hair and your love of trains. I am constantly amazed by the little people you are becoming, and I can’t wait to not have to miss you so much.
I hope you all find a way to express some love today, and always. For me, tonight I’m going to show myself some fierce self-love (that’s not as dirty as it sounds — I’m talking about yoga, idiots) and then tomorrow, I’m going to buy myself a half-price box of chocolates and treat myself all weekend.
Happy Valentine’s Day, loves.
Yeah, this photo is from last year’s Valentine’s cookies post. So what?