Let’s face it, when you’ve been married for longer than a decade, the Valentine’s Day tradition starts to seem a bit silly.
It feels like Hallmark is forcing you to acknowledge the holiday simply to prompt the sale of cards. Likewise, florists are hawking their roses and, as soon as you walk into the grocery store, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates wrapped in red cellophane seem to surround you. And while most couples still recognize the day in some form or fashion, in many ways it is a holiday made for children.
This may seem counterintuitive. Amanda, why would a romantic holiday be made for children? Well, for one thing, it involves candy, lots of candy. While adults like candy, most of us have eschewed eating large portions of candy in favor of good health. When we do eat candy, especially women, we make lots of excuses about how we never usually eat candy. We’ll just have one, thanks.
The tradition of giving valentines to friends is also one specifically suited to children. Not only do they love creating, signing and passing them out, but they love getting them from each other. I did it, my kids did it, and I imagine their kids will do it to. There is no emailed valentine that can hold a candle to a handmade one written straight from the heart.
So, while my anti-sappy side is a Valentine’s Day Scrooge, my softer side, the mother, sees a few magical moments every year in my children during this time. This year, there were several.
First, my younger daughter gave a valentine to a boy who was visiting her class two days before Valentine’s Day because he wasn’t going to be there on the holiday. She tucked it into his book bag when he wasn’t looking and only sheepishly told me about it when I saw her carrying it to the car one morning. She wanted him to feel welcome to her school.
Second, she made homemade valentines for our entire family. Uncharacteristically plain, they very simply stated her feelings. She told her sister that she still loved her even though she was sometimes mean to her. She called her father her “sweet daddy,” and she called me her “best friend.”
Folks, it doesn’t get any sweeter than that …
Amanda Lamb is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books, including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.