That universal day of love signified by hearts and cupids, thereby establishing that while love may exist between parents and children, brothers and sisters, relatives, friends across the nation and around the world ... it is actually a day set aside for lovers.
A day for couples everywhere to declare their undying love.
Jewelry stores count on it.
Flower stores thrive on it.
Card stores go crazy on it.
And restaurants? Yeah ... they overbook and overprice on it.
It's that day when men best remember to step up and make their best effort towards the woman they love and adore. That day when women work to look and smell their best, their most enticing, to show the man they love ...
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
You get the picture.
Seems to me it's a day of trying to hard to achieve something that should naturally occur every day of the year. Then again, I'm single. So what do I know?
For starters ... I know that I have a set of parents who have been married for 52 years and have provided me with an example of the type of love I would like to have in a marriage. A love that doesn't need a special day to make them declare their love with just a shared look across a table ... with the holding of the hands as they walk down the street ... with a giggle-laugh-snort of a fun story told or shared joke ... with a quiet moment a head leaning on the other's shoulder. My parents weren't perfect. They have had their share of disagreements and disappointments over the years, however through each year they gave me and my brother an example of committment to something that means everything to both of them. Their marriage is a combined effort of work and love, on Valentine's day and every other day of the year.
Secondly ... I know I may be single ... I know I may not share this holiday with "a man", giving and receiving gifts of chocolates and flowers ... however, I know each year I have been fortunate enough to share the "Day of Love" with someone I love ... three someones to be exact.
For seventeen years now, I have spent this day in the company of sometimes one, many times two, and those years when I've been extremely blessed - all three of my girlies. Whether rushed due to busy school nights or relaxed when celebrated on a weekend, my heart is filled with delight in the time we spend together.
Now that they are all teenagers, the years of special heart patterned matching jammies and cartooned faced heart decorations are photos of memories in my mind. The special early morning breakfasts of heart shaped pancakes while watching Valentine videos of Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh have been given up for the teen's creed of "We Must Sleep Until Noon". The staying up late the night before the school Valentine's party signing little cards and baking cookies has transformed itself into running to the store and grabbing some of those little boxes of heartshaped sugar candies with messages of "hugs" and "love" and other assorted sayings stamped upon them. The years have passed, the children have grown, but there is a constant that remains.
My heart is still filled with delight in the time we spend together.
This year there won't be a sumptuous dinner at an elegant restaurant with an adoring man for me. There won't be the Valentine Party dinner we had when they were little ... red themed in honor of the day with spaghetti, red jello, red kool-aid, and brownies with red sprinkles. There will simply be me and my girlies ... two of them for sure, hopefully three ... with pizza, cookies, and a movie. Granted, the pizzas are heart-shaped courtesy of our favorite local pizza place and the cookies have the silly red heart faces from courtesy of the Pillsbury Doughboy ... I haven't given up every part of the holiday just because we've all aged!
There may not be jewelry or fancy red heart shaped boxes, but there will be soft smiles, large hugs, sweet kisses and chocolate.
There may not be a huge bouquet of red roses, but there is a simple origami flower made especially for me.
There may not be romance, but there will be love ... simple and consistent ... freely given from the heart ... one special day a year and every day after.
That's the Valentine my parents exampled and I wish for everyone.
Happy Valentine's Day!