In honor of St. Valentine's day, I've asked friends and family to contribute small stories about love.. all kinds. Romantic love, love of a city, love of music, a piece of art or love between friends. I'll be posting them here over the next few days.
So much emphasis is put on romantic love on Valentine's; it's all over the grocery stores and TV commercials. Boys giving girls diamonds, husbands and wives on a romantic dinners for two... they neglect to recognize some of the most important kinds of love in the world; love between families, friends and even pets.
As kids, we always got such a big kick out of Valentines. Everyone brought treats to school, passed out little paper cards featuring whatever registered character was popular that year, and we consumed more sugar than our little bodies could handle.
In high school, it started to get a little awkward. My school had this flower-gram program where someone could buy a carnation, send it to a recipient with a little note, and it would be delivered during class. Some girls received so many flowers, and some received none. Most received none. Around this time is when I think we started to become a little more wary of the holiday and some maybe, secretly, started to dread it, feeling like as we get older, Valentine's is only for people in relationships, for people "in love" and if you weren't "in love", you were left out.
I don't believe in that.
Growing up in our house, we would emerge from our bedrooms on Valentine's morning to find a mylar balloon tied to our breakfast chairs, a little box of assorted chocolates at our place setting, and a card...kind of like a cupid-Santa. We loved it. Our parents always told us they loved us, but on this day.. we got balloons and candy!
I've kept that mentality with me through the years on Valentines.. single or not, home or away, it has nothing to do with one significant other in your life, but all of your significant others, all of the amazing people and things you love that make your life better, brighter and happier.
So bake some heart shaped cookies for your friends, get some flowers for your kitchen table, scribble some notes telling the people you love that you do, in fact, love them.
St. Valentine would want you to.