When February rolls around on the calendar, a lot of folks’ fancy turns to celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Love it or hate it, this holiday is a mushy-gushy popular one with the masses if you consider all the merchandise available in stores and online.
Papa and I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day with each other any longer. After three years of dating and 43 years of marriage, I truly don’t need a stuffed teddy bear wrapped up in a big red bow holding a fragrant or fake rose or a box of chocolates to tell me that my husband loves me.
He demonstrates his love for me every single day by the way he treats me, the loving ways he supports me, and in his kind manner of doing things for me. And I strive to do the same for him. So, we banished the cards and gifts a long time ago as truly not necessary because really, shouldn’t every day be like Valentine’s Day?
One of our offspring doesn’t care much for this holiday, not even when she was a teenager. To her, Valentine gifts and mushy greeting cards just seem overly showy and even insincere. I fear she resembles her mother when it comes to outlandish, unnecessary gifts and grandiose words of affection because those things don’t fill our emotional tanks like they do for some folks.
Instead, show us how much you love us by your actions – kind of ‘put your money where your mouth is.’ And by that I mean, don’t spend money on gifts, just mean what you say and prove it with your actions.
But since Valentine’s Day is fairly successful as a consumer-driven holiday, obviously many people enjoy the gift, card, and flower buying and receiving. Now please don’t think I’m berating those of you who love receiving or giving gifts, I’m not. I understand each person has a different “love language” and that may be yours. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Of course, the focus of Valentine’s Day seems to center on romantic love, but not everyone has a romantic relationship. So, maybe the holiday would prove more meaningful for everyone if we included demonstrating our love for our families, love for our friends, love for our neighbors, love for our fellow humankind – the way God intends for us to love one another.
When I recall Valentine’s Day in the past, I remember using construction paper to decorate a shoebox which I took to elementary school to be used as a “mailbox” for simple Valentine cards from my classmates. But two other fond memories of this holiday are foremost in my mind and both came from my father’s actions.
When I was just a youngster around three or four, my daddy sent me a big Valentine card in the U.S. mail. He could have just brought it home with him that day but instead he mailed it because he knew it would make me feel special. What a surprise that was and how excited I was to receive my own personal mail addressed just to me! That experience was such a treasure that I actually still possess that card – one I’ve kept in a safe spot for over 60 years.
The second memory is what my father did every year. On Valentine’s Day, he always brought home a big heart-shaped box of chocolate candies for my mother and three smaller ones for his three girls – my sisters and me.
This tradition continued even after my sisters, who were several years older than I was, married. Dad still bought all of us Valentine candy. Years later after I married Papa and moved out of state, I continued receiving a package in the mail just in time for Valentine’s Day. A heart-shaped box of chocolates from my Dad.
At some point, we told Dad he could stop buying us candy since we really didn’t need those extra calories. I don’t know if he was disappointed with our decision or not. But now, I realize that those red and pink boxes bedecked with ribbons and filled with chocolates wasn’t the point.
It was the thought that counted. It was a loving husband and father reminding his wife and daughters that he loved and cared for them and in his eyes, they were special.
I remember my father’s loving gestures, which extended far beyond Valentine’s Day, with some melancholy tears brimming in my eyes, as I prepare little packages filled with Valentine goodies for my three grandchildren.
Do they need those little gifts? No, not really. But since two of them live in another state and Nana and Papa can’t visit them as often as we’d like (especially now), we must send Valentine greetings by mail.
All three of our grandchildren will receive special mail addressed just to them and those packages are reminders from Nana and Papa that we care about them, we love them, and they are all so precious to us.
So, in a way, we will celebrate Valentine’s Day this year by sending our love in a special package by mail.
“A bell’s not a bell ’til you ring it – A song’s not a song ’til you sing it – Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay – Love isn’t love ’til you give it away.” ~ Oscar Hammerstein