Sunday, February 16, 2014

Valuable Valentine's Day

Someone once said to me that Valentine's Day is just a made up holiday.  He didn't understand why anyone would celebrate such a day.  It was dreamed up by greeting card companies and chocolate purveyors, he explained.  (Okay, maybe he didn't say "purveyors", but you get the gist.) 

My response to that?  Of course it is.  And I thank them for doing so.

The truth of the matter is, most everything we celebrate doesn't have to be celebrated.  It's not required that you eat cake on the anniversary of the day you were born or that you must gather together to eat a meal on the day someone graduates from college or that you give your spouse a few sweet words in a greeting card when the day you were married rolls around on the calendar.  No one is going to force you to do any of that. And some people don't.   I, however, choose to celebrate these things - and a few other occasions that are unique to my family.

Here's what I think.  It's valuable to have a day set aside to reflect on things like love, friendship, marriage, getting older, or accomplishing something important.  I'm not sure what a life without celebrations would be like, but I am sure it's not for me.  It's not just in the material things, like Valentine cards or chocolates, about these days  that make them special (although I do think that's part of the fun).  It's the memories you make on these days.  There's also something cool about observing the same day every year and comparing how things have changed, marking the passage of time.

This is a picture of my kids when they were three and one.  It was Valentine's Day.  I had a snow day, so I was able to stay home and fix them heart shaped toast and grilled cheese sandwiches much to my delight.  My daughter helped me bake a heart shaped chocolate cake.  Her excitement about this is something I still remember to this day along with her decorating this cake with conversation hearts. 
My son's Valentine's gift was a book of nursery rhymes and fairy tales illustrated with Disney characters.  We read that book for years.  He loves Donald Duck.  He still occasionally gets it out at eight years old.  My husband brought home red roses for me that year. 

Notice my son is eating those conversation hearts as fast as she can put them on the cake.
Such concentration - she was so proud to show her dad when he came home from work.

There have been many days when I have made my kids toast for breakfast and grilled cheese for lunch.  And there have been many times my kids helped me bake something.  But this is one of the days I distinctly remember because it was Valentine's Day.  Believe it or not, my daughter remembers this too. 

So this year, we celebrated this somewhat silly, somewhat made up, lovely holiday with heart pizzas from Papa Murphy's...

some new books (books have become kind of tradition on Valentine's Day) and goodies.

Once again, it snowed pretty much all day on Valentine's Day.  I think that's what might have reminded me of our snowy Valentine's Day seven years ago.  Again, marking the passage of time is fascinating to me.  This year I had the day off because we had two nights of parent/teacher conferences on the two days before the holiday. The kids had a half day of school.  My husband took the day off as well and came through with flowers again.

Flowers and an Amazon card... that man really knows me!

We picked the kids up at noon and had lunch at Panera.  It was a nice way to mark the passing of another Valentine's Day.  I know it's one I will remember.  There's value in that for me.


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