I’m not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day. (Perhaps, it goes back to a not so pleasant memory during the middle school dance). Fortunately, I found a loving mate who is equally dubious of the nature of this Hallmark holiday. In our almost 12 years together, we’ve occasionally celebrated by getting each other a humorous card or going to a restaurant that’s saturated with pink and red decorations. Usually, though, we’ve treated it like any other day.
Of course, since kids have come into our loving picture, we willingly partake in the festivities. We help them make valentines for all their classmates and decorate our walls with their pink and red artwork.
Two of our favorite Valentine’s Day children’s books are Franklin’s Valentines by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark and Goose Needs a Hug by Tad Hills. Both of these books portray moments of heartache, but end with love, expressed by friends.
The youthful and inclusive Valentine’s Day where everyone receives loving acknowledgement is what makes me stop and think about the tiny gestures we can take as friends.
Last year I took my kids’ extra valentines, went to my school early, and taped them to the doors of all my English department co-workers. On these notes, written by my non-dominant hand, I had scribbled a silly, uplifting message and left no signature. Smiles and whispers about the mysterious Cupid filled the halls. My name was just one of the guesses. It boosted morale when we were feeling overwhelmed.
This Valentine’s Day, I’m writing this blog post. I’m writing it, thinking about anyone who may be experiencing heartache in some way. Today may be a harder day for you. You see love in the air, but you may not be feeling enough of it inside yourself.
Perhaps, you’ve entered another cycle of fertility treatment. Another round of chemotherapy. Any type of medical-related routine. You’re working hard with your doctor, acupuncturist, physical therapist, etc. to discover what will make you feel better.
Perhaps, you’re in the midst of grieving a recent loss. Of a baby. Of a parent. Of a friend. Of a marriage, job, or house. You’re working hard to push through the pain.
Perhaps, you’re just in a rut today. You’re feeling out of whack and the smallest things go wrong, only compounding your frustration. You’re working hard to not lose your temper.
This Valentine’s Day, I’m writing this blog post. I’m writing it, hoping that everyone can express some tiny gesture of love to a friend in need.
Perhaps, you’ll call that friend you know (or suspect) has been struggling and just listen to whatever it is she wants to say.
Perhaps, after the phone call, you’ll send that same friend a hysterical meme, knowing she’s ready to laugh at something ridiculous.
Perhaps, you’ll pick up a hot coffee for that mom who looked particularly exhausted yesterday.
Perhaps, you’ll buy a new video game for your husband who’s been the under-appreciated custodian these past two weeks that the flu has ravaged your home.
In the end, Valentine’s Day is just a day, another day to love your friends, and make their heart beat a bit stronger.
I guess Valentine’s Day just got a new fan. (Although, let’s take it from Franklin and keep spreading these “just because” friendship vibes tomorrow, too.)