Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. At least of the ones I’ve experienced so far. Someday if I get invited to a Diwali festival or the U.S. picks up Guy Fawkes night, it may get a run for its money, but until then, Valentine’s Day it is.
I don’t always talk about it, because I’ve found that cheerfully declaring “Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday!” in a conversation usually causes the same reaction as saying “My metabolism is just insanely quick, so no matter how much I eat, I just can’t seem to keep weight on,” or, “I had a really easy time giving birth, all three times,” or, “I’ve always had my trust fund, so I don’t know what it’s like to work full time”. I’m usually met with silence. Sometimes the more urbane will respond, “Really?”, as if I had just told them my genealogy research recently uncovered several convicted felons in my family tree.
People struggle with my unabashed love for February 14th. How do you respond to the person who loves the holiday we love to hate? To some I have a screw loose, to others I am naive, to most this revelation makes me a little less trustworthy, a little silly.
Misery loves company, though. Hate Valentine’s Day? You’ll get no end of support for being a Valentine’s Day Scrooge. Cynicism and sarcasm abound this time of year, along with lots of whining and complaining about how the holiday is too commercialized, too corny, too historically ironic, too discriminatory to singletons. Too expensive.
Can you imagine if we acted this way about Christmas?
Even my son’s teacher makes no bones about it. He told the kids it’s a “Hallmark Holiday”, (like all the others aren’t?), that they could bring valentines in if they wanted to, but with no candy in them whatsoever, that they would have a low-key party but there would be no sweets. My poor kid came home in tears. “He’s ruined your favorite holiday, Mommy”. I’d love to make his teacher the world’s biggest, most bad ass, adorned, complete-with-blinking lights, musical Valentine’s Day card in the history of cards. But that sounds a little passive-aggressive. Sigh.
I just don’t see anything wrong with a holiday that encourages us to tell the people we love that we love them. No matter how we love them. Why is that such a big deal? How did we get it so upside down? Goodness knows we all could love more abundantly, and show it more unabashedly and freely. Instead we’ve turned Valentine’s Day into a day to lament about the lack of love in our lives.
I think the reason I adore Valentine’s Day is that I have never associated it solely with romance. From the time I was a small girl, too young to understand that kind of love, I have exchanged cards with my classmates and family. At no point in my life have I ever felt excluded by the holiday. Single, in a relationship, dating, breaking up, it has never made any difference. I always knew I was going to celebrate a fabulous day.
Valentine’s Day has everything I love in it: Love, chocolate, all of my favorite colors, lace, hearts, flowers, chocolate, people giving each other cards and telling each other they love each other, chocolate, fancy food, perfume, garlands, chocolate…..
And Valentine’s Day is so potentially welcoming! It does not exclude on the basis of religion, race, age, gender, sexuality, or type of love. You can celebrate it with your children, your friends, your partners, and even your pets! (This is where I confess that when we got our dogs as puppies and the paperwork showed the date of birth as 2/15, I announced that since it was close enough we would just consider their birthday to be Valentine’s Day).
The simple fact is, there is never a shortage of love in our lives, unless we set it up that way. Want more love in your life? Then love more. Once the cycle is set in motion, the only challenge you will face is how to receive all the love that is showering down upon you. There is a catch, but it is the best thing about it: it has to be given and received freely. That means you don’t get to withhold love until Life meets your standards, and you don’t get to control who loves you back.
So, dear ones, this Friday, please remember how much I love you! In all the ways there is to love, I adore you! And if you’re lucky, in more than one!