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Celebrating Love

Series: From My Perspective | Story 4

Welcome to the second week in February. Yes, most of you know what that means… Valentine’s Day is approaching. The day of love.

Some people believe it’s just another “Hallmark Holiday” brought about to sell cards, flowers, chocolates, dinners for two and on and on, while others truly get into the spirit and show those in their lives how much they are loved and important they are.

Personally, I don’t need a holiday to show anyone I love them. I like to think that I, and we as individuals, can do that every day. And, if there is a holiday that lets us express it even more, what harm could it do? The world needs a lot more love in it, in my opinion anyway.

To give you an idea of how I came to have these feelings about this particular holiday, I thought it might be fun to share my own memories of it growing up and beyond. See, I have my own fond (and not so fond) memories of Valentine’s Day.

Some of my earliest memories of the holiday were as a kid, signing my name to a bunch of cute little cards and exchanging them with classmates. We would make them in class, one for each fellow student, during our “arts” portion of the day the week prior to the holiday. Later, when we got a little older, we would go to the store with our parents, pick out just the right box of mini cards and sign them at home before bringing them to school. Our teachers, up through middle school, either had us make little mailboxes that would sit on our desks, or bring some sort of container from home that would serve this purpose. On Valentine’s Day, during recess, our teachers would put our labeled cards in each of our “handmade mailboxes.” After lunch, we had a party where parents had brought in sweet snacks for the occasion. Sometimes in those little mailboxes there was even candy to go with some of those cards, and we took the boxes home and opened our cards with our parents and enjoyed some candy, with permission, and usually after dinner. It was a pretty fun way to celebrate.

Once high school rolled around, Valentine’s Day was a little more important, and treated a little differently. I still remember receiving little cheesy cards, slid through slots on my locker from friends. I went to a school with about 500 kids in my class alone and the school had about 2,000 students. Each class did or sold something for the holiday (usually to raise money for class trips, etc.). The Freshman class sold cookies, Sophomore class sold carnations, Junior class sold “Be my Valentine” ads in the school newspaper, and the Senior class sold boxes of chocolate. Our Associated Student Body officers from each class, with the help of their advisors, would deliver all of these items to our homeroom classes at the beginning of the day. We walked around school that day on sugar overload. Those who had boyfriends or girlfriends held hands and smooched throughout the day. Those of us without significant smooching partners watched, and in my case, dreamed of the day I had my own person to call my Valentine.

After high school, Valentine’s Day became something more of an individual celebration with significant others. At 19, my significant other at the time had broken up with me the week before this big holiday. It was an emotional breakup, and as established in previous columns, I’m somewhat of an emotional person. I was fortunate enough to have a couple of very good friends to help see me through my misery, because at that age, being single on Valentine’s Day was the worst thing that could happen in life. (Oh how I miss those days when that seemed like the worst thing that could happen in life). Those good friends sent me some flowers at work (better than any boy ever had), and we went out to dinner together to celebrate our love and friendship. Still to this day, I think that was my favorite Valentine’s Day.

Now, many years later, I am still fortunate to have people I love in my life: family, friends and yes, my pets. I have also come to realize that I’m fortunate to have myself – and without trying to sound conceited (because I’ll admit it does sound a little like that), I will not only show those in my life that I love them, but also show it to myself.

So, how do we show others and ourselves that we love and care for one another? The first thought that comes to my mind is by being kind. Being kind to the important people - actually all people - and telling those people they are cared for and loved, and not just assuming they already know how we feel is probably the best way to start.

We can also show ourselves, as individuals, this same kind of love by being kinder to ourselves. We talk positively and take care of ourselves, make time for us, and do things that bring our hearts joy.

My little words of wisdom for you this Valentine’s Day? Do something special, just for you this holiday, then continue to do things that show you how much you care about yourself. By doing this, you can then show others more love. Fill your cup with love, goodness and kindness, then let it all overflow to those around you.

Showing people, including yourself, how much they and we matter in our lives, and telling them, without assuming they know how we feel, is one of the greatest Valentine’s Day gifts we can give. Maybe try being like that little elementary school kid I fondly remembered. Without worrying about what others might think, try spreading some love and kindness on Valentine’s Day and throughout the year. What have you got to lose?


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