The actual date itself doesn't have any meaning for us, beyond it's designation as a day to remember those dearest to us. And we're not overly influenced by the likes of Hallmark or FTD, nor do we feel pressure to conform to some sort of Valentine's Day frenzy. And it seems I know a lot of folks who could care less about the day and feel no compulsion to mark it in any way, and hey, to each their own, right? But why do we-my family, mark Valentine's Day?
For me, Valentine's Day stands out in my memories, and I always think back on that special package that traveled from Maine to Ohio after my parents' divorce. It wasn't the happiest times for my family and my sister and I missed our father. I remember opening the little box that contained the little ring with a silver heart set with rhinestones and how it thrilled my little eight year old heart to know my father was thinking of me. That he had chosen the ring, just for me and it was perfect. I also remember the antique Valentine's card, the smooth, velvety paper, the delicate layers of doilies and the cherry red of the hearts. (I still have this card, but was not able to lay my hands on it in time for this post.) I also remember arriving home from school and finding pretty pink cupcakes or pink frosted shortbread hearts set out on plates, baked by my mother. I too, remember writing out card after card, (the Holly Hobbie cards were my favorite) keeping the most special aside for that special friend or crush and the excitement of stuffing these cards into friends' decorated wall pockets or shoe boxes. Valentine's Day meant something special, little treats, pretty, cheery colors, sweets and anticipation. It was something to look forward to in the middle of a long winter.
I think this is why my family likes Valentine's Day. It's simply something to anticipate at a time of year when cabin fever is banging at the door, the winter winds are still howling or, alternately, the brown grit and gray snow of thaw muddies our views as we peer out dirty windows. At a time of year when our cups are perhaps, not very full, a handmade card, a special letter or note, a lovely brunch, a purpose to a single day, set aside, to remember, that yes, we love one another, can go a long way to replenish those emotional reserves. We know and practice this everyday, of course, this love for each other, that is. But when the season is long and is often cold and gray and barren of celebration and noses are chapped and raw and body aches and pains have settled in and the wet boots pile up by the door, as crumpled tissues pile up on nightstands and good night kisses are menthol scented, and perhaps our patience with one another is running as thin as the ice, because our cups are in need of a refill, Valentine's Day arrives, and with its arrival, a reason to stop, focus our attentions on that love and act in a meaningful and mindful way.
So for us, Valentine's Day meant some crafting and creating, a little scheming and juggling, a little chocolate, menu planning, and sitting down to a quiche brunch, courtesy of Alex (who, while making crust and sauteing mushrooms and onion was also hooked up to his laptop via Skype and headphones for work, the laptop resting next to the cutting board, just so.) It meant that we took an ordinary Monday and made it just a bit special. Celebrating today meant we each had to take some time and focus on those we love, create something with them in mind, and tell them that we love them. It meant we treated others with a little extra specialness. Embracing Valentine's Day meant we each had our cups filled, to the brim.