Valentine’s Day is a few days away. Stores are filled with hearts and cards and chocolates. Florists are stocking up on roses. Commercials abound for diamonds and jewels. Restaurants are gearing up for a busy weekend. For all of the talk about romance and love, Valentine’s Day has really become more about commercialism and a standard of expectations. Flowers. Jewelry. Fancy Dinners. Chocolates. People fall into the trap of equating the amount of spending to the depth of love.
Does that mean I’m against Valentine’s Day? Not exactly. I think it can be fun and educational for kids. There are a lot of crafting opportunities. And honestly, a reminder to show the ones you love how much you care isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, sometimes we forget to tell people how we feel.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be an expensive Holiday. Love isn’t weighed in carets, after all. Last year my boyfriend was away on a fishing trip over Valentine’s Day, so we didn’t exactly celebrate. But he called to say he loved me, and text a picture of a wildflower in bloom where he was staying. It didn’t follow “the rules”. Not a dime was spent. But, I still felt loved, and it was romantic.
That being said, there is a Valentine’s tradition that I value dearly. Every year my Dad buys us each a box of chocolates. When we were kids, it was a little heart shaped box with a variety of different chocolates. Always Fannie May. The last few years it has been a small box of Trinidads, which are all of our favorites. Always with a personalized card for each of us.
Four boxes of chocolates. Four cards. Plus a larger box of chocolates and a card for my Mom. If you add it all up, it isn’t exactly a cheap tradition. But that tradition has meant the world, especially to my sisters and I. Over the years, no matter what was going on in our lives, single or otherwise, we knew we had something to look forward to on Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t just about the chocolates either. Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolates. And having a box of chocolates to yourself meant you could eat them however you wanted (which usually meant biting into each one to see if I liked it). But the card was just as important. My Dad wasn’t always very present in our lives. He freely admits to not being very involved in the day to day of raising us. But he always managed to find a card for each of us that fit our personalities, what was going on in our lives at the time.
If I ever have a daughter, I’d like her father to continue the tradition. And this year? The boyfriend and I will likely skip the restaurants; we don’t go out to eat that often anyways, and I’m not a huge fan of crowds. I like flowers, but they’re way overpriced this time of year. I’ll be happy that he’s home this year, and we can spend time together. And I can likely look forward to a little box of chocolates and a loving card waiting for me at my parents’ house this weekend. I’ll know I’m loved. Isn’t that the point?
– Cindy W.