I love Valentine’s Day.
Honestly, I do. I love the cards and the hearts and the flowers and the chocolates. I love that the USPS has a new stamp called “Sealed with Love”. I wish that on Valentine’s Day, stoplights would be heart-shaped. It makes me smile to think of all the kindergartners exchanging handmade cards or ones with Disney Princesses and Spider-Man on them. There are babies being born today, and people getting engaged and married, just like every other day, but today is special because it’s all about love. In Greek, there are three words for love: philia, eros, and agape. Philia is “friendship-love”, the love you give to your family, your friends, the universe. Eros is “kissy-kissy love”, reserved for that special someone in your life. And agape is “servant-love”, unconditional love for the good of humanity that makes you want to care for people. So, it’s totally kosher to pick a version of love to celebrate on Valentine’s Day.
I love celebrating Valentine’s Day because my family always made a big deal about it. When I was four, my family started having a special Valentine’s Day dinner. It was my mom’s idea; when I asked her where it came from she said “My brain”. (Fair enough, Mom.) But it was her way of doing something nice for my dad even with two little kids. So every Valentine’s Day from when I was four until around the time I started high school, my mom and I would go from Goodwill to Goodwill, searching for old bridesmaids’ dresses in pink or red. My brother and I would make cards for our friends and family out of construction paper and heart doilies and lots of stickers. Then, on Valentine’s Day, my mom and I would get all dressed up in our fancy, crazy dresses, and we’d make a special dinner and all sit down together to celebrate our love for each other. It was especially fun because my brother’s birthday is February 15, so it was like a prelude to birthday madness. (My little brother turns 21 tomorrow—EEK!) It’s one of my favorite memories of being a kid. But I don’t think celebrating Valentine’s Day is exclusive to people in relationships. It’s never bothered me that I’ve been single for every Valentine’s Day of my entire life. Some people call February 14 “Singles Awareness Day”, and that’s fine for them, if that’s how they’re feeling. But for the past couple of years, I’ve revived my grade-school tradition of glue sticks and construction paper hearts, because I want to take this day to send love out to my friends and family.
I believe that on Valentine’s Day, everyone should feel loved. They should have romance, if they want it, an affirmation of friendship, chocolate, an excuse to listen to love songs, a reason to smile because somewhere out there someone is thinking about them and loving them in a romantic or platonic or grammatical way. If you want to see the new Die Hard movie this Valentine’s Day YOU GO GLEN COCO. If you want to throw an I Hate Valentine’s Day party because that’s how you’re feeling, go for it. But don’t forget to give a little love. Leave a card for your mail carrier. Give blood. Smile at a stranger. Hug your bunny. Just remember that you are loved.
P.S. I made this Valentine’s Day playlist just for you.