Some holidays are cool. St. Patrick’s Day, for example, is immensely cool: Green beer, Leprechauns, bagpipes, and Guinness. Cool. July 4th is also very cool: BBQ, fireworks, and the beach. Cool. Valentine’s Day, on the other hand, is definitely uncool. It’s pink hearts, wilting red roses, hard-to-make and over-priced dinner reservations, Scratch N’ Sniff cards and immense pressure to plan something romantic. It has none of the panache of Halloween or the reverence of Easter. And yet I love Valentine’s Day because it is a 24-hour period in which to celebrate – cheesy, though it may be – love.
Stay with me here. I can almost see the eye rolls already, but people are not always kind to each other and the world can sometimes be a scary, hateful place. Every day on social media, for example, we are bombarded with horrific news that can be especially tough to digest as a mother. Given all the hate-mongering out there, I appreciate that Valentine’s Day is a day to tell someone you love them, that you appreciate them, and that they are special to you.
While Valentine’s Day is often viewed myopically as a holiday for couples, some of my favorite Valentine’s Days have been spent in the company of friends. I distinctly remember Valentine’s Day 2013 when my friend Laura and I made last minute plans late in the afternoon to celebrate Valentine’s Day together. While we originally envisioned a classy sushi dinner and a single dry martini, we found ourselves at 1 am doing chilled vodka shots with Russian dissidents in a Russian bar in Washington, D.C. Now that was a fun Valentine’s! As I said goodbye to Laura that evening and made my way home, I felt immensely loved (and rather drunk) and to this day, our free-wheeling, spontaneous evening remains one of my favorite Valentine’s Days.
I have been tremendously blessed with incredible people in my life and as someone who has not lived in her hometown for many years, my friends are my family, and I value them as such, so Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to express my appreciation and adoration for these beautiful souls. I love that Galentine’s events have become popular in recent years and while I suspect that many of them are marketed as an ‘anti-Valentine’s Day’ activity, I also think that they serve the purpose of reinforcing friendships, empowering female relationships and sending everyone home at the end of the night feeling loved.
I’ve been married for over five years, but we’ve only spent one Valentine’s Day together He has been deployed or otherwise unavailable for the vast majority of those Valentine’s Days, but those times apart have been opportunities for us to put into writing our enduring commitment and respect for one another. It’s too easy at this stage in life to get caught up in the day-to-day chaos of parenting four children. Valentine’s Day gives us an opportunity to pause and take a moment out of our busy lives to reinforce that love is the uniting thread in this family.
As we approach February 14, I encourage you to stop hating on Valentine’s Day and embrace it in all its cheesy glory and tell someone that they are special to you. Yes, it’s fun to hate on Valentine’s Day, but it feels oh so much better inside to express love and to be loved in return.