People have a very visceral reaction to Valentine’s Day. It seems like there are just as many anti-Valentine’s Day parties as there are romantic promotions. I tend to straddle the line of embracing the cheesiness but keeping an open mind about whose day I want to brighten.
Having spent my teen years attending an all girls school, Valentine’s Day always meant much more than having a boyfriend to share a date with. Growing up, boys always came secondary and Valentine’s Day was no exception. I spent many an hour decorating my girlfriends’ lockers, writing out silly valentine cards and just generally going out of my way to make a friend’s day, especially if she was single. I suppose the tradition grew from exchanging handmade cards with my family and spending those heartfelt holidays playing board games and coming up with special ways to show one another we cared.
Jimmy and I decide from year to year whether we want to really get into the spirit of Heart Day. Sometimes we go all out, like last year, when he got me a cheesy but adorable Pajama Gram and I made him an even cheesier “Reasons Why I Love You” homemade scrapbook (decked out with the transparent covers students put reports in and all), along with a framed print of a painting he loved from Joe Guy Allard, the very talented artist who would make the card I’d be proposed to with less than one year later.
This year, we’re staying conservative with gifts so we can save more for the wedding and have agreed to make one another free presents. I’m cheating a bit, since I didn’t get the corduroy tie I’d started done in time, and am making Eggplant Parmesan instead. *Note the cuteness factor here: I had wanted to make his favorite dish, Chicken Parmesan, but he opted for the meatless version so I wouldn’t have to make two meals.
I’m most excited to give him two handmade cards — one with the Tardis from Dr. Who, which I made with a friend during Arts and Crafts Night at Lux Lounge down the street, and another handmade envelope full of paper conversation hearts, which I tried to fill with inside jokes and favorite TV show lines. I created that one with another friend, during yet another arts and crafts session during Open Mic Jam Night at Boulder Coffee Company.
I sprinkled my parents’ house with Valentines I made for them too while I was checking on our old but adorable kitty, Sasha, because let’s be honest, before Jimmy, it was my mom and dad who truly showed me how to love. They’re just getting back from a trip celebrating my uncle’s birthday in Las Vegas and will come home to an abundance of cards. *Note: More to come on my beloved childhood home.
And as for the gift from the man of my dreams? I was stunned to learn that as per our agreed upon arrangement on a $0 gift, he came up with something priceless. Jim surprised me by creating a twitter feed as a proclamation of our love, with details of our story throughout the day, as told by Vin the dog. Eight years in, I still get giddy from the surprises Jim comes up with for me :)
The point of all of this is, I think we could all benefit from taking the focus off the kind of love it is that we expect and hope for. Love is all around us in the people we see every day. You just have to know how to see it. So happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Go brighten someone’s day and try to remember today and every day, as Radiohead so eloquently sang, to “immerse your soul in love.”