Happy Valentine's Day!
When I was younger, I was pretty anti-Valentine's Day, not so much because I cared that I was single (I'm talking middle and high school here; few of my friends dated at those ages, and none seriously) but because my youthful self was very Cyncial and Anti-Corporate and Anti-Sap and Anti-Flowers (and wore really wide leg jeans with rips in them and baggy t-shirts and was totally badass in her own head and no one else's).
But I don't know. Yes, you should live every day like it's Valentine's Day; there's not just one day of the year when you should treat your Significant Other specially and express your love for him or her. But reality is reality: you sort of lose track of things in the monotony of the day to day. It's nice to have a day to dress up fancy and go out to a tasty meal and get flowers and chocolate and extra smooches. Isn't it?
And I would like to say that it's a day to celebrate all kinds of love: friends and family and of course and above all that God-love which all other loves can only shadow palely.
But you know what?
It's nice to have a day to celebrate romantic love, too. Romantic love, that one-and-only relationship that's like the love you have for friends and like the love you have for family, but different. The love that begets the children you (may) eventually get to love together. The two-become-one love that you have with this person and this person only.
I tell my single friends I love them on this day, too, and I would never begrudge them whatever celebration or lack thereof they wish for on this day, just as I hope none of my attached friends begrudged my celebrations and non-celebrations when I was single.
Now that I am married, though, this is how I choose to celebrate Valentine's Day. This is what it means to me: That I love my husband, and he loves me, and that that love is special and worthy of celebration.
Sidenote: So at my church growing up, the youth group put on a Sweetheart's Dinner on a Friday or Saturday night near Valentine's Day. Couples (our parents and other adults in the congregation--my parents certainly attended before my sibs and I were youth-group-aged) bought tickets and the youth cooked a fancy meal (steaks and salmon and baked potatoes and fancy-beans) and decorated the Fellowship Hall as fancily as possible and provided babysitting free with the price of the ticket and dressed up as servers and generally tried to make a really nice night out for a reasonable price (and raise money, because youth groups always need money).
I enjoyed serving those dinners as a youth, and I know my parents enjoyed eating them. I looked forward to getting to be an attending couple some day when I grew up.
But do you know what my Tulsa church does for Valentine's Day?
It has a Father/Daughter Valentine's Dance.
Let me get this straight. You, loving husband of a loving wife, should spend the holiday created (more or less) to celebrate romantic love (and, um, fertility)...with your daughter?
Am I the only one creeped the heck out by that?
Not to mention, what about mothers and sons? They don't get to dance? I guess no one cares about them.
What a strange perversion and confusion of loves. I'm sure it's all perfectly innocent and I'm probably the only person in the world (besides my husband, actually, and thankfully) who thinks it's strange, but ick. It makes my skin crawl.
I mean, my dad took me out on a date when I turned sixteen, to emphasize to me how a gentleman should treat a lady and that I was worthy of that kind of treatment and respect and that he and my mom loved me no matter what other guys may or may not love me eventually. That's not really the creepy part.
But on Valentine's Day???
I don't know. I think they're missing the point.
Also maybe I'm bitter that I don't get a fancy-pants youth-served dinner of my own. Shhhh.