I'm completely willing to admit that I love Valentine's Day...I love the thought of there being one special day in the year that's dedicated to showing the people in your life just how much you adore them. I love the fancy chocolates and fragrant flowers and candlelit dinners and sparkly greeting cards. But there's one thing I really dislike about February 14th....the Valentine's Day haters.
There are the singletons who are bitter about having no romantic prospects on Valentine's Day. I'd argue that this holiday isn't just about romance...it's also about platonic and familial love. To them I'd say "send some flowers to your mom, go out for a fancy-pants dinner with your friends, heck, buy yourself some amazing candy and a sappy card and realize how blessed you are to be loved by so many people."
There are the anti-consumerism non-conformists that argue against the superficial materialistic displays of affection that abound this time of year. My feelings are, if you don't want to buy roses and diamonds and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, then don't (and if you're in a relationship with someone who wants these things which you so strongly disapprove of it might be time to reevaluate things).
There are the idealists who claim that you don't need a special day devoted to love, that you should "treat every day like Valentine's Day." Let's all be honest here....NOBODY does this. Life is busy and complicated and sometimes you forget to take the time to say "I love you" to the people you care about most. It's nice to have an annual reminder.
So how did I celebrate Valentine's day? I started the day with heart-shaped pancakes with homemade strawberry syrup (a family tradition that I hope to continue for years to come). I read through every Valentine's Day card Ed and I ever exchanged (which was an amazing trip down memory lane). I cried a little while writing out my baby boy's first Valentine. Ed gave me pink carnations and I put them in a red vase in my hallway and I stop and smile at them every time I walk past. I wrote out cards for Dylan to send to his extended family and all the babies and little kids we know. Inspired by a Yoga Journal blog post, I meditated on the different times in my life when I felt truly loved.
And I ended the day with a four-course gourmet meal at the best restaurant in town...my apartment. I made thinly sliced melon drizzled with honey, a salad with strawberries, toasted pecans, goat cheese and homemade honey-balsamic vinaigrette, roasted sage butternut squash risotto and roasted garlic asparagus, and finally dark chocolate mocha mousse. As I cooked I thought about how much I love my husband and how the food I was making was an expression of that love. Ed and I ate by candlelight, listening to the music of Jack Johnson and the sounds of Dylan happily playing in his playpen a few feet away from us.
It wasn't what everyone would want for Valentine's Day, but it was exactly what I wanted. My hope is that everyone, including the haters, can find a way to celebrate the love in their lives in a way that is personal and meaningful for them.