Thursday, February 14, 2013
Back when I was single, I hated Valentine's Day with a passion. What a lousy excuse for a holiday, I always thought -- as if couples really needed one more excuse to gush and we single people really needed one more giant blazing sign to remind us that we were alone and left out. I had other single friends who felt the same way. We did our best to make something positive out of the day, going out to dinner together and often giving each other small gifts. Still, I was always happy to put the day behind me on the fifteenth.
After I met my husband, I was determined not to forget what Valentine's Day was like for me before I was married. We soon made a tradition of having our big date on another night (when it was easier to get a table, anyway) and inviting single friends over for dinner on the actual holiday. It was a fun way to spend the evening, and I was happy to help my single friends get through what was a really difficult day for some of them.
This year we don't happen to have anyone coming over, but I was telling my husband this week that I want to keep our tradition of celebrating Valentine's Day as a family holiday. Today has been full of Valentine making, cookie decorating, and little girls twirling in their pink ballerina dresses. I'm learning more every day about how much of my joy is found in making happiness for others rather than trying to find it for myself, and that's something I want to pass on to my daughters as well. As we go through the years ahead of helping our girls grow up into young women and all the emotional issues that will be involved with that, I hope they will always remember that love isn't something they have to go looking for. It's something they can share with those around them, and something they will always have here with us.
"I have found the paradox," said Mother Teresa, "that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."
Happy Valentine's Day.