When I was little, I loved Valentine’s Day. Giving and receiving those cute little cards, parties at school, and getting into my mom’s chocolates from my dad were fun things that marked those childhood years. Later, boyfriends would take me to dinner or bring me flowers. As an adult, I have felt what a lot of people feel: Valentine’s Day is an over-commercialized “Hallmark holiday.” I mean, if you’re being a jerk to your loved ones the other 364 days of the year, what good are roses on February 15? But now, I find myself someplace in the middle.
I believe that love is in the little, everyday things that we bring to our relationships. It’s in sharing your ice cream with your sister or not yelling at your little brother when he’s pestering you for the 567th time this week. It’s in fixing the broken garbage disposal for your girlfriend or bringing your husband his coffee just the way he likes it. It’s in calling your aging mother and listening to her tell you the same story today that she told you three times yesterday. It’s in the handwritten thank you card you got from a friend.
Every day, somehow, you are surely giving and receiving love in a hundred little ways you don’t even think about. You walk your dog. Your friend calls to check on you. You feed your baby. Your child hugs you. You smile at a stranger, and she smiles back. All these things add up. They’re the things that make life bearable. If we’re lucky, we experience so many of these little things that we barely recognize them. They just are.
Any celebration of love is worthwhile, whether it’s on February 14 or not. Valentine’s Day just gives us an extra reason to be thankful for the love we receive and the love we give. These days, I decorate with pink and red hearts, I hang my Valentine flag on the porch, and I make sure I have a supply of cute cards and candy hearts. You know. The little things.