I have never been big on Valentine's Day--not the principle of it, but the practice. Puppy and I made Valentines that were mailed far and wide, and we'll share a family holiday meal together tonight. But overall I tire of the emphasis on material expressions of affection and the insane focus on romantic love to the exclusion of all other forms. My husband is a high school teacher and it is perhaps the most highly anticipated day among his students, aside from the last day of school. That saddens me on many levels. It's a day when the insiders and outsiders in the teenage dating game are made clear. Students (girls and boys) lucky enough to be dating someone flaunt their balloons and bears and flowers all day. There used to be a rule about leaving gifts in the school office, but they would run out of room before lunch.
As he does each year, today T will get on his soapbox for minute in his classes. He will remind his students that love isn't just about having a boyfriend or a girlfriend, but about all the people we choose to include in our life. He will say he wants them to know they are special and loved and not forgotten on this day. Then he'll pass out some candy and those class Valentines you buy $3 for 30 at Target. If it is like every year prior, the teenagers will get as excited over those cheap cards as they did in elementary school. And at least one student will come up to tell him how much it meant to be noticed on a day when they felt so invisible.
This is why I fell in love with my husband. Not just because of his romantic gestures or the way he makes me believe I'm the most amazing person he's ever met (although I appreciate those things). But because he understands that love opens its arms wide to gather in as many as it can, as often as it can.
Happy Valentine's Day to every one of you. May your day be filled with true love.