All morning, I listened to pessimistic high school students complain that Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a Hallmark holiday, a day so exaggerated by marketing executives that it is nothing more than a way for florists, restaurants, and card companies to make money. Cynical? I tend to believe it is more about the juncture they are at: too old to remember the innocence of elementary school Valentine’s parties and too young to understand love.
Innocence: This past weekend, we took a special trip to Target so that Maggie and Lizzie, whose teachers were having special parties today, could pick out Valentine’s cards and some candy to pass out to their classmates: Princesses, Lego, Angry Birds, Dora– the choices were endless. Last night, they sat at the kitchen table, and meticulously, they wrote their names on each card and then attached a sucker. They were in agreement that the cards had to be perfect. At nine and seven, Valentine’s is about sharing friendship. It is about giving and receiving.
At lunch today, I, too, got excited by friendship. A co-worker brought in a bag of candy hearts to share. Like kids, we took turns digging through the bowl to find the perfect message to send to someone at the table. “You’re cute.” “Fax me.” “Too good to be true.” “One of a kind.” As hearts changed hands, we were eager for the receiver to impart the message of the sugary treasure. Together, we laughed. We shared friendship; we had fun.
Love: After fifteen years together, Tom and I decided that we weren’t going to celebrate Valentine’s Day, per se. Frankly, I didn’t want either one of us to spend the money on over-priced candy or flowers. I was content with the idea until I saw what pleasure sharing the hearts brought my friends at lunch today.
Thus, I devised a plan. With the power of technology, I was able to send Tom virtual candy hearts. I rummaged through the bowl until I found three statements I thought went perfectly together to describe my love for him. I positioned them on the table and took a picture. I sent it in a text.
About an hour later, a text appeared on my phone. It read, “Right back at ya!” Attached, was a similar picture with three phrases he chose for me.
I was elated! I guess I did want a Valentine’s present. These three messages meant more to me than a dozen roses or an expensive dinner. He reiterated what I already know, but what I love to be reminded: We are soul mates; he is still head over heels in love with me; we are best friends forever.
I made the picture the screen saver on my phone. In a few days, when I am fully focused and this little interchange has slipped my thoughts, I will push the on button of my phone, and there the picture will be. Three little phrases will appear– a constant reminder of our love.