When your children are little, it’s pretty typical for parents — mostly Mums, but we’ll get back to that — to give them valentine’s day cards or sweets. As they grow up, however, is there an age when it becomes inappropriate or just a tad weird? Some might think so but I don’t. In fact, I gave Valentine’s Day cards to both of my girls this morning and they’re 13 and 20. Better yet, Ashley, my 20yo, was working at the time: we stopped by the coffee shop she’s at and I handed it to her right at the register. Embarrassed? Nope, she was smiling when she saw it. A tolerant smile, perhaps, but a smile nonetheless. 🙂
And here’s what’s important: I made the cards. I don’t always have time to do that, but last night I was able to allocate the time needed to find the construction paper in the house, glue, scissors and do some freelance cutting and folding. The result might look like it came out of a 2nd grade classroom, but I like it!
Thing of it is, I’m mixed about Valentine’s Day as a holiday. The back story is pretty cool, actually, and there actually was a Saint Valentine. He was a Roman priest killed during the reign of Claudius Gothicus after being arrested for marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time being persecuted by Claudius in Rome. Kind of the guerrilla priest of love, if you will. Cool, really.
Unfortunately, in modern times, the holiday has been hijacked by commerce and it’s become much more about Hallmark selling a billion cards than about genuine expressions of love and appreciation. I’m not a fan. But… so many of our holidays celebrate war and fighting — like Independence Day and Memorial Day — that a holiday focused on love is a wonderful thing. Heck, our whole world could do with 2x more love and much less war.
Oh, and I do want to say that I would also highly, highly encourage fathers to possibly move out of their comfort zone and also embrace Valentine’s Day with their children. I think a lot of men just figure that their wife’s “got that valentine’s day thing covered with the kids” and just focus on getting something for his partner. But whether you grab a sappy card on the way home or take the time to actually doodle a card of your own, the gesture of love and appreciation can be deep and profound for your children. Don’t miss the opportunity. (and pay attention: you might just be surprised that they tape up your card on their wall to enjoy for years to come)
So that’s how my kids and I are celebrating Valentine’s Day. Not with purchases and cliché chocolates but by just enjoying time we all spend together enjoying and appreciating each other. Now, how about you?