Valentine’s, or Singles’ Awareness Day as many like to call it, has held a special place in not just my heart but my being from the time I was young girl.
When I think of Valentine’s Day I think of my mother who used to cook me a special breakfast in the morning before she put me on the bus to school, or in later years leave a card on the kitchen table because she already left for work. My mother has been a baker for as long as I can remember, running her own business on the side, making creations for brides and grooms, 70th wedding anniversaries, birthday parties, or company functions. It was the look on my classmates’ faces when I brought cupcakes or candies in on behalf of my mother that really made Valentine’s what it still is for me today: appreciation of those people who, if even in a small way, have affected my life.
In my 22 years thus far I have spent a whopping three Valentine’s Days with a significant other, including this year. I understand that many people, especially around my age, would rather not buy into the commercialism that continues to surround the holiday and seems to more and more every year. But, I have to ask, if this is the case then why do people still celebrate Christmas the way they do? Even Easter?
Having worked in retail I feel as though I have seen the worst in terms of cheesy decorations or over-priced gifts. I hear the complaints of customers wanting to know why we have holiday candies and cards shelved three months in advance. However, I am not lying when I say I do enjoy opening boxes of holiday memorabilia, especially related to Valentine’s day because it gives me joy in planning what I would like to do for my friends and family. It makes me think about them. As a college student I can’t afford much, but it doesn’t matter; it really is the thought that counts.
It’s easy to argue that the special people of your life should be celebrated every day, but the cold truth is we don’t. It’s easy to forget to call your mother, or check-in with your brother, or remember to see how your best friend’s test went or job search is coming. We forget to thank the mailman, or hold the door open for someone we don’t even know.
In the United States we have Thanksgiving, but Valentine’s Day is more than that. It is in fact a celebration for love, or whatever it is that one considers “love,” or chooses to express it. For me, it’s a day of appreciation, a day of reflection to take the time to slow down and think about those who matter to us. Whether someone can afford a diamond necklace or only a handmade card doesn’t matter; it’s remembering that we’re all human with a need for an emotional connection.