Celebrating love

First, a confession: I’ll celebrate any holiday that involves chocolate. Fortunately, most of them do.

Why we don’t like Valentine’s Day

I realize many holidays can be a bummer for one reason or another. There’s lots of expectations. And work. If you’re the family organizer/planner, Christmas can be a monumental amount of work. Thanksgiving, at least, involves a day or two of cooking and eating and then its done. Christmas can take months to pull off.

Birthdays make us face the reality that another year has ticked by. And, if we’ve lost a parent or two, somehow the pangs of loss are especially strong right then.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday built around expectation. It hits, quite literally, at the heart of us. Are we loved? Do we matter? What are we worth?

St. Valentine was a rebel

The history and origin of Valentine’s Day is based on a Roman priest who died on Feb. 14. He went against orders and performed marriage ceremonies for Roman soldiers. So they beheaded him.

Wow, that’s super romantic.

Today, Valentine’s Day has grown into a massively commercial, gluttonous feast of cards, chocolate, marriage proposals, and jewelry. If you’re not in a happy relationship, that probably feels kinda sucky.

I understand. I’ve never been much of a fan of commercial Valentine’s Day. (Especially when I was single, apparently, as evidenced by this 1999 newspaper column I wrote: “Cancelling Valentine’s Day”.)

Turning Valentine’s Day around

But that doesn’t have to be the only way to celebrate love. Or the only kind of love to celebrate.

Valentine was a rebel. You can be one too.

Use Valentine’s Day as a reason to love everyone (no, not in a romantic way, although I suppose that’s fine if all parties are in accordance).

When Adam and I blended our families, I decided Valentine’s Day was a great day to let them all know how much I love them. Plus, kids + chocolate = I’m an awesome mum.

So I make them cards and give them little presents (and chocolate).

Why?

It’s hard to tell our 6’2″ teenager how special he is to us. And while we tell him we love him every morning on our way out the door (this is not acknowledged in any way by him), V-Day gives us a chance to say something more.

And for the rest of the kids, well, I just love those monkeys. Can sincerely demonstrating love be overdone?

As far as Adam goes, he got a card and chocolate covered espresso beans. He’s good. 🙂

V is for value

So, today let those you love know they are valued. Sure, you can do this any day. But mushiness can be hard for me. I am English, after all. I’m not much of a great romantic. Valentine’s Day gives me an excuse to talk about love.

And if you don’t have 4 kids and a spouse, or 1 kid and no spouse, just tell whoever in your life that you appreciate them. Take this day as an opportunity to love yourself. To love the earth, the divinity within all living things. To love your understanding of God/Creator/The Universe. To love a stranger and see the goodness that’s within each of us.

We need more love in this world. On Valentine’s Day. And every day.