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Friday, February 14, 2020

How to Have a Great Valentine's Day

I don't think there is any other holiday that is so polarizing. People either LOVE Valentine's Day or they hate it.  I think it starts in childhood.

In elementary school you either sit at your desk smiling with a stack of Valentines from your classmates or you sadly look at the couple cards that you received. (Do they do it differently now? Does every student have to give a Valentine all classmates? I hope so.)

In high school (at least in my high school) students could send each other pink carnations. Some girls (and guys) had a bouquet of flowers and some had none.

In college, you hoped that when you got back to your dorm after classes that there would be flowers waiting for you at the reception desk. Everyone knew exactly who got flowers and who they were from. Receiving no flowers / stuffed animals / balloons / chocolates was devastating.

At work, some people receive flowers  and some people take a pause in the bathroom because this whole Valentine's Day amped up love thing is too much.

And this is why Valentine's Day is so rough. Regardless of what all the TV spots have to say, your value doesn't depend on what someone gives you. It's about love and kindness. If you don't have someone in your life right now. It's OK. Love YOU. You can be and should be the love of your life. If anyone else wants to sprinkle you with kisses or pink cupcakes or flowers or chocolates that's a bonus  but you loving you is where it starts. Then send out kindness into this world. Call someone you know who just got out of a relationship or is feeling down. Just call / email or text to say "You know what I love about you? You always look happy on Monday mornings / I admire the work you put into rescuing animals / You've always made me feel special, no matter how crazy things were, you remembered me. etc." Call your parent, partner, child or friend who hasn't felt the love from you lately because you're too busy working / going to school / just trying to get through the day. Just call and say "I love you so! You are gift in my life and if I don't tell you this often enough!"

Kindness, a true compliment nestles into the heart of the recipient. It can't help but make you smile and be happy. You have no idea what someone is going through on Valentine's Day (or any other day) and you have no idea how much your kindness was needed. If you feel like it, surprise someone with a cupcake or a card but that compliment, that hug, that smile is going to last a lot longer than whatever else you may give.

Years ago, my husband, L,  and I decided that we didn't need to shower each other with gifts. It stressed both of us out thinking about what to buy and was it enough? I said I would rather receive a single gardenia blossom just because you love me. We are raising our daughter, Waverly, the same way. It isn't about the gifts. It's about the kindness and the time that we spend together. Tonight, the night before Valentine's Day, I was bathing the baby when my husband came home and said "I bought you girls something." As we walked downstairs, Waverly in PJ's and her wet hair slicked back, I hoped that L. remembered our decision regarding holidays and gifts. I was imagining a giant teddy bear and balloons.

Then I saw them. Two single gardenia blossoms. I looked at L. "It's not for Valentine's Day," he said. "It's Thursday. I thought maybe Wave would like a gardenia like her Mom." A heavenly-scented gardenia for my daughter and I during these rainy, grey Seattle days. It's the best gift he could have gotten us.

I wish you a Happy Valentine's Day. You are loved. You have special gifts that are appreciated. You have the ability to help someone else with your kindness today. Take the opportunity.

With love love love!

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