For as long as I can remember, I have always been slightly annoyed by Valentine's Day. I'm not exactly sure why. Nothing traumatic has ever happened to me on that day, nothing devastatingly sad. I've just always resented it as a whole, with its overpriced floral arrangements and the bizarre images of a chubby toddler threatening to shoot people with his primitive weapon. My sophomore year of high school, I rebelliously wore all black and frowned all day in protest of all the giggly girl excitement. When I was 18 and living the single life in San Diego, my girlfriends and I had dinner at a restaurant that specialized in "stinky food" and laughed about how lucky we were that we didn't have to worry about disguising our bad breath because of some guy. Even after falling in love with my soul one, I never could get on board with all the pink and red cheesy goodness. Shawn has always said that we don't need a special day to remind us about love, everyday is Valentine's Day. We have both been quite cynical about the whole thing.
But then we had this little girl, this fiesty, beautiful, intelligent, creative little girl. And she forced all of our cynicism right on out the door.
Since she was three years old, Miss Isabelle Grace has been completely obsessed with Valentine's Day. Except she calls it "ValenTIMES Day":) She starts making preparations as soon as Christmas is over. "Mommy, how much longer 'till Valentimes Day?" "Mommy, I think I'm going to go with a Barbie theme this year. With a lot of pink!"
She makes cards and draws pictures of herself holding hands with various male classmates and oohs and aahs over all the stuffed animals and heart shaped boxes on display. She has big plans of baking brownies and cookies and sharing them with her friends and talks about her class Valentine's Day party for weeks. Her excitement is palpable.
One day last week, I finally asked her, "Belle, why do you love Valentine's Day so much? What is it about this holiday that makes you so excited?".
She very insightfully replied, "Mommy, Valentimes Day is special because you get to tell everyone you love how much you really love them. You get to give them heart gifts to make them feel special. And you get to spend time with your family and be happy together."
Huh. I was, for once, lost for words. My six year old child had just schooled me.
I find myself getting swept up in Isabelle's spirit this year. Her genuine excitement is contagious. Her sincere desire to spread love to those around her is infectious. She has no hidden agenda, she's not just following the hype. She just wants to enjoy the people in her life and celebrate the love she feels in her heart.
Now THAT is what Valentine's Day is really all about!! That's what I really should have been thinking about all these years. Not resenting the marketing agenda of chocolate companies, but celebrating how full my life is, how lucky I am to be in love and to be loved. Whether you are in love or single, we all have relationships that are worth rejoicing over. We all have people who bless us and keep us sane. And that most certainly deserves a day of recognition.
Today's festivities are all about family and love. I have lots of little lovie dovie activities planned and can't wait to share them with the people whom I hold closest to my heart.
Thank you, my sweet little Belle, for once again opening my eyes to new truths and my heart to more love. Thank you for allowing me to push my jaded views of the world out of the forefront and just enjoy life. Thank you for making me believe in fairy tales all over again.