If the Grinch is the antithesis of the Christmas spirit, then I very well may be his equivalent for Valentine’s Day. I say this, not because I find myself single again as yet another Valentine’s Day fast approaches, but I say this as one who is big-hearted and who wears her heart on her sleeve, which is precisely why I cannot wrap my brain around the commercialization of something as pure, delicate, and beautiful as love itself. Much like Christmas, the day has become more about over-the-top gifts and gestures than about the true spirit and real meaning of each respective holiday, and for these very reasons, I do not enjoy Valentine’s Day, whether in a relationship or not.
Some may protest that this is a day dedicated to love and should be celebrated as such, but I find that to be such an affront to the very notion of love actually. To designate just one day to honor something as grand and complex as love is nothing short of offensive, for love should be honored, celebrated, treasured, shared, given, and received every single day of the year. It also seems that Valentine’s Day is more concerned with romantic love, which is only one of many ways that love shows itself in relationships. While countless books, movies, songs, poems, and other works of art immortalize the joys and sorrows of lovers throughout history, to ignore or marginalize other forms of love is to miss out on some of the sweetest types of love of all.
I may be biased, as I am a mom myself, but I think that the love between a parent and a child is one of the purest forms of unconditional love there is. Too often this love relationship is taken for granted by parents and children alike, as we, as human beings, sometimes tend to treat those who love us the most as givens or after thoughts in our lives. Even after nearly 12 years of being a mom, I still am overwhelmed by both how much I love my daughters and, even more so, how much they truly love me. To them, along with their dad, we are their world, and it humbles me immensely when they say to me, “You’re the best mom in the world”, as I sometimes think that if they really knew me, then they would not say that. Then, I realize that my inability to see and accept my strengths and positive qualities does not mean that they do not exist, and it also does not mean that I have to be perfect, for I obviously am not, to be the perfect mom for my two extraordinary daughters. They see me through the eyes of innocence and love, and it’s a vision of myself that I may not always be able to see, but am grateful that they do.
There is the tremendous love that the best of friends have for one another, as well. I have been blessed with such amazing friends in my life, and I cannot begin to put into words what they mean to me. To be able to choose to enter into a friendship willingly with another person, and to nurture such a relationship to become whatever it is meant to become, is such a beautiful gift to share with another. It is thanks to three of my most cherished friends that I am able to tell the following story of the only Valentine’s Day that ever meant something meaningful to me, and Missy, Mel, and Stefanie are three of my all-time favorite valentines ever.
When Valentine’s Day rolled around during my sophomore at the University of Dayton, my three amazing roommates all had boyfriends to share this day of love with, while I was nursing a broken heart from a relationship that had ended two months earlier. As cards and flowers arrived at our dorm room, and plans were being made to celebrate with their respective valentines, I definitely was not feeling in the mood to celebrate much of anything, especially love. If you ever have had a broken heart, you know that this particular holiday has a way of opening up old wounds and exacerbating fresh ones. So, I made my way through that special day not feeling very special at all, until I came back to our dorm room.
When I walked into our two bedroom suite, I could smell the delightful scent of roses in our living room as I made a beeline to the bedroom that I shared with Missy to be alone with my self-pity and loneliness. As I entered our bedroom, I noticed something on my bed. At first, I thought it may be something from my parents, but as I got closer, I realized it was not from my dear parents, but it was from the three people in my life who taught me so much about love and friendship, my college roommates. I grinned from ear to ear as tears filled my eyes when I picked up my prized gift-a box of “Be My Valentine” Little Debbie snack cakes. If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, one of the paths to my heart is sweets. On the box of these sweet treats was a note wishing me a happy Valentine’s Day and telling me that they loved me, and when I turned around, there stood my three valentines who hugged me and laughed with me. They saved that particular day, just as they have saved countless other days since then, and I love them dearly and truly cannot thank them enough for everything they have done, and continue to do, to enrich my life and to allow me to share in their respective lives.
I may be spending this Valentine’s Day alone, but I remain in my heart of hearts a hopeless romantic in many ways, and I still believe in true, unconditional love and acceptance in a romantic relationship, as well as in other relationships. I still am healing from the end of my marriage and the recent demise of a very special friendship with my Pen Pal, and as I do so, I remain the quirky, big-hearted, perfectly flawed southern girl who dreams big. Perhaps, one day, I will find a year round valentine of my own, and until then, I will continue to love my family, friends, and even myself with all of my heart and to treasure love in all of its form on a daily basis, not just on February 14.
That’s another story . . .
Also, feel free to check out my other blog, “Just One Thing Each Day” at www.justonethingeachday.wordpress.com
Categories: That's Another Story