There is always so much hand-wringing and drama on Valentine’s Day. All the V-Day grinches who lament the Hallmark holiday, who want to beat it into submission, so as not to face their own losses or fears. People seem to set such high expectations on Valentine’s Day, and if they are not celebrated in a way they deem worthy, the day is a loss, a heartbreak, a disappointment.
Growing up, my parents always gave us little token gifts on Valentine’s Day â€“ a bag of pistachios, fruit leather (pre-fruit roll-up days), cinnamon hearts. I loved these little gifts. I’m not sure if it was their simplicity or the fact that it was nice to know that although we were kids, our parents still thought of us on Valentine’s Day.
When Arron came into my life, he began the tradition of the single red rose, though one year, he gave both Olivia and I big bunches of daisies, which became the flower that symbolized him after he died. I loved the tiny gestures and would be thrilled and content if they were all there was.
After Arron died, I kept up the tradition with our kids,. A cup cake, cute t-shirt, a dinner out. I threw my attention on them in those difficult years when Valentine’s Days seemed to mock the single, and more particularly, the bereaved. The simple gestures were not overwhelming ones, the way Christmas ones seemed to be, and so giving became that much more pleasurable. I wasn’t expected to give Valentines to the mailman or the kids’ teachers, though I could have. The pressure was off.
Valentine’s Day became a day where I celebrated all I was grateful for still having – healthy, happy kids, wonderful friends, a family who loved me. I tried to make it a point not to focus on what I had lost.
This year, I have even more to be grateful for. I still shake my head in awe that love has found me, and this year the simple gestures remain intact. I will be making a special dinner that may or may not include kids. I will be giving something hand-made, all the while feeling so thankful. The poor man will receive a tsunami of love and sweetness, he won’t know what hit him.
So often we set ourselves up on Valentine’s Day, wallowing in the loneliness it seems to foster, the expectation that something nice should happen to us, be done for us, be given to us. When in fact, if we can release those expectations and see V-day as simply a day of giving love, we might all spare ourselves all that angst.
So go on. No more wallowing. Give yourself a hug. Give someone you love a hug and maybe go and get a few cinnamon hearts or some daisies or a cupcake and show someone how much you care about them.
Happy Valentine’s Day!