A few days after Super Bowl 50’s Lisa Frank colored halftime show message of “Believe in Love” emblazoned across Levi’s Stadium, and a mere 5 days before Valentine’s Day, my thoughts turn toward gratitude. It’s my first year as a mother on Valentine’s Day. February 14th (and sometimes July 6th) is originally a wholly Christian holiday observed by the Anglican Communion, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Lutheran Church in honor of Saint Valentine. Again, in the vein of unlabeled (raceless, genderless, areligious) love, I can get behind a holiday whose express purpose is now to celebrate displays of affection. Some of my favorite memories of the Hallmark holiday are not from dates, boyfriends, my husband or schoolmates. My best memories are from my Dad. He would always delight in picking the perfect card, a cute stuffed animals, or a specific treat for me. Whether it was a school night or a weekend, he would excitedly wake me up and usher me to the kitchen where a surprise would await me next to me breakfast. A small, yearly tradition that I hope to pass on to my son.
The day isn’t about lavish spending (even though about $180,000,000 will be spent) nor is it about flowers (198,000,000 roses cultivated) , it’s a day dedicated to small acts of adoration – platonic and familial included.
Multiple studies, including one that tracks Facebook breakup statuses, have shown that couples are more likely to break up in the weeks before and after Valentine’s Day. Yikes. Other research supports that couples who give more credence to the holiday are less healthy than their counterparts who celebrate “just because” throughout the years. Apparently, the feeling of obligation or forced romance can lead to dysfunction!
So, instead of making this day about love for our partners, let’s give in to some self-love and parental-love retail therapy.