This February 14th was the first Valentine’s Day I haven’t had a significant other / bae / lover / almost-boyfriend / gift-exchanging-partner in seven years. Seven. Freaking. Years.
Okay, before you roll your eyes at me, let me clue you in on a little background info: the only reason I’ve had a human on this special day is because I’ve been in several long-term relationships that provided me with automatic Valentines. (Thank God, otherwise I don’t know how I would’ve survived. Just kidding. Kind of.) But in all honesty, when Feb. 14 rolled around, I was just lucky. For a good chunk of years.
Anyways, this year was definitely different than waking up to the giddy suspense of what my human would get and/or do on this Hallmark holiday. But I decided long before the day arrived to not be one of those single saps who shed tears over riding solo on the 14th. I wasn’t going to be an emotional, let-me-go-get-my-nails-done-and-cry-over-rom-coms-home-alone type of girl. But I also wasn’t going to be the opposite, I DON’T NEED A MAN type of girl either. I was going to be somewhere in the neutral, casual, totally cool, oh, what day is it? stage. (Or something like that.)
But my entire V-Day plans shifted when my little sister asked me to go on a college visit with her. Suddenly I found myself on an airplane flying home for the weekend, attempting to look like I was traveling to visit my super loving, mega hot BF. Yeah…no one was fooled.
To be completely honest, I was terrified about going home for Valentine’s Day weekend. This trip had the potential of getting my mind (and body) out of awkward, what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life situations. But it could also be a reminder of how utterly single I was. I was twenty-two and hanging out with my parents. Yikes.
But, strangely, it wasn’t the disappointing weekend I was nervous for. Instead, it was honestly just what I needed.
From the second I stepped off the plane, I was flooded with texts from the only man who will ever really have my heart—my father—who was circling the airport lot again and again just to make sure I wasn’t standing in the cold. We proceeded to have a forty-five minute conversation about his job, his passions, and what I’d missed in the last few months. Then I got home to a full fridge of snacks, meals, leftovers, and basically anything in the world I’d like. Including, but not limited to three different types of milk—skim, 2%, dairy free, and soy vanilla—no, I’m not kidding.
From there, the weekend was a whirlwind. Friday night out with friends, Saturday exploring the college, Sunday family city adventures, and Monday girls shopping day. We did a family V-Day dinner at a fancy restaurant, where we all shared pasta and steak and seared tuna and copious amounts of buttered rolls. And laughs, of course.
Throughout the entire weekend, I drove my little sister crazy, teasing her, sending her embarrassing Snapchat videos, and harassing her for impromptu, mid-campus-tour selfies. We laughed and napped together on the drive to and from the school. We teased our mom. We shared a giant tub of buttered popcorn at the movies. We went prom dress shopping. And we cuddled in her bed and talked about boys.
It was, without a doubt, a weekend I completely needed. A full three days of not worrying about guys, of not feeling conflicted about relationships and kind-of-relationships and whether or not I was still a cute human being, even if I didn’t have a Valentine.
It was a weekend of focusing on my sister—of peeling back her layers and finding out what she was passionate about, where she wanted to go to school, what she was scared of, what she wanted to do for post-prom plans. It was a weekend of rediscovering myself—who I really cared about, what really mattered when push came to shove.
I realized, in my worry about being single on V-Day, I was being completely selfish. There’s a world of people without mothers or fathers or siblings or wives. People whose significant others are deployed or deceased or bed-ridden with a terrible illness. People terrified about college or finding friends or what to do with the rest of their lives. And I’m over here stressing about whether or not I’ll find love again.
It was a wake-up call. I saw how insignificant my problems were. How much bigger the world was, if I opened my view instead of just focusing on myself. How much I could miss out on in my family, in my sister’s life, if I chose to only pay attention to my problems.
As I boarded the plane to head home, I was overwhelmed with feelings. Not the sad-sappy-single-girl feelings, but real feelings. Guilt over not spending more time with my family. Frustration that I live six hours away from my little sis, who’s just trying to figure out who she is and what prom dress to buy. Anger at my own selfishness.
V-Day isn’t about me. And won’t ever be.
It’s a holiday for love—romantic love, friend love, family love, sister love. It’s a weekend that celebrates what it means to care about other people, to have people that care about you. I’m twenty-two and I spent the weekend at home with my parents and little sis. And honestly, it was the perfect weekend. I might not have a ‘Valentine,’ but I have an amazing family. I’d say I’m pretty darn blessed.