I am pretty much always single
on Valentine’s Day. Sometimes I know why; sometimes I haven’t got a clue. I like to think because I do want to get hitched one day, I’ll probably end up like my mother in terms of guys – one and done. Or I’ll be the next Emily Dickinson. (I’ll take it.) But I digress. I may make a lot of jokes about Valentine’s Day – mostly about single people who can’t stand it. But I actually really like Valentine’s Day because it has nothing to do with a relationship status from where I’m standing.
I think I was in Primary 2 or 3 – translation: 2nd or 3rd grade – when my dad got me this heart-shaped Valentine’s box with candy in it and a tiny teddy when he picked me up from school. To date, it’s still my favorite Valentine’s Day gift ever. I don’t know why this one in particular comes to mind but it always does. And it’s not about the gift as much as it reminds of just always chatting with my dad on the drive home. Being a daddy’s girl, my dad will always be one of my first Valentines and one of the first people to teach me about love. I think I have a closer friendship with my mother but there’s something about a strong father-daughter bond that you either know or you don’t know. So to me Valentine’s Day is ultimately about strong bonds, and remembering those bonds.
I know when you walk into grocery stores by the first week of January, it pretty much screams VALENTINE’S DAY IS COMING for the next couple of weeks. I know on all your social networks right now, it is filled with tons of hate, love, and nauseating messages about the holiday. I know it can feel like this day is only supposed to be for people in romantic relationships. I know if you’re not in one, it can feel like you’re missing out on something, and maybe you’d just rather forget the whole thing altogether. After all, capitalism and jewelry and flowers and candy and “stuff” seem to dictate what this day is about. But that’s only if you let it.
To me, Valentine’s Day is about keeping in mind that you are loved and what that is actually supposed to mean. Saint Valentinus, who is the reason for this day is said to have performed marriages for soldiers and risked his life to do so, because it was not allowed under the Roman Empire at the time. It’s a reminder to me that love is about sacrifice and people sacrifice greatly when they really love you. I think that’s why when you love someone – and it could be anyone – it’s really the things you can’t buy that are the most important.
It’s the kind and encouraging words, the showing up to my sports tournaments, or conversations at dinner in my childhood or checking my homework, or sitting in the couch watching soccer, that really makes me realize how much my first Valentines, my mum and my dad and my siblings really love me. Love is about sacrifice but it is also about the boring and mundane things too.
I often think of my favorite joke of all time, which is the first one my baby sister told me when she was four or five: “Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because seven “ate” nine.” To me, laughter is another thing that is at the heart of love. And it’s kind of sad we’ve taken a lot of laughter out of days like today; days that should be about love. We are busy, we are struggling, we are tired, we are irritated, and ultimately we do not love enough.
So the way I see it, we need days like today. Because we all need to be constantly reminded to love more. And no, you don’t need any particular thing or person for it to be a day about love. You just need to remember that it is your calling to love in this world. And that is a fact that has nothing to do with your relationship status. So tell people you love them today. Tell your family, your friends, your co-workers, and even have a loving smile or two for a passing stranger if you can. But if you haven’t heard it yet, please let me be the first to tell you: Happy Valentine’s Day. I wish you lots of love and laughter – today and every day.