Valentine’s Day: A Love/Hate Relationship?

February is American Heart Month, National Children’s Dental Health Month, International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month and African Heritage Month, among others.

But February is also —the month for loveheart

…hearts everywhere…beginning the day after Christmas we have the big run up to Valentine’s Day ….red and pink and hearts to remind us that February is the month for love.

I             Love             Valentine’s Day.

When I started school back in …well, awhile back…we were given colored papers and pencils, glue, scissors and a shoe box to create a decorated box for Valentines to be put into. We were given a list of classmates so everyone would get a card from everyone else…we made handmade cards…craft time with Mom…

I             Love             Valentine’s Day.valentines cards

When we got older, we were no longer given a list of classmates…we were no longer told to bring valentines for ANYONE let alone EVERYONE. In what I remember to be about 4th grade I discovered I had a ‘boyfriend’ who had been waiting for Valentine’s Day to tell me…Donnie. He created the most beautiful card with a hand drawn heart inside…it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.

…now to be clear, I’m not talking about the traditional symmetrical heart shape

…I’m talking about a hand drawn rendition of a human heart…a human organ with all of its blood vessels with the large ones cut open at the top where it had obviously been removed from its body

—an awesome piece of arthuman heart

I             Love             Valentine’s Day.

When I was about 12 I received a red heart box full of chocolate candy…it was delivered to the door…pretty cool thing for a 12-year-old.  It was from my great uncle who was a bachelor and often stayed with our family when he visited all the relatives. He rarely spoke and it was news to me that he even knew I existed.

 

When I was 15 I dated for the first time…it was more platonic than anything else.

But when Valentine’s Day rolled around I received a pair of chocolate shoes from a local chocolate company…cool…impressive.choc shoes

And the next year my name in chocolate.

Did I mention…

I             Love             Valentine’s Day?

One year I sent a Valentine’s Day card to my husband on the 14th of EVERY month…

I             Love             Valentine’s Day.

As time went by though the gifts I received became expressions of obligation.

…or at least it felt that way.

And, of course, there were those times when there was either no observation of the day at all or a passing mention…Often it is too hard to live up to the hype that commercials and movies put on it.

The pressure is on to suddenly be romantic for people who may not be all that romantic otherwise.

And, of course, for people who are not in a relationship, or in a failing one, it can feel like the world is pointing a finger and making sure that everyone knows it.

What’s the deal with needing a day to be romantic anyway? Or to show love?

As I got more cynical Valentine’s Day felt more like a commercial conspiracy rather than a holiday about love.

I mean…if you have to be reminded to tell someone you love them…well, then, what’s the point?

So Valentine’s Day not only lost its luster but became an irritation, an uncomfortable day to get by.

broken heart

I didn’t marry the boy who drew the human heart…although looking back…(smile)

But I DID marry the boy who sent the chocolate shoes and my name in chocolate…clever.

Married at 18 and after 5 years of hoping for a baby and the doctor telling us that we might want to think about alternatives to giving birth to our own… I discovered I was pregnant.

….and to make up for lost time…I was pregnant with twins.

After a short 7 month pregnancy I went into labor in the middle of the Blizzard of ‘77…in the middle of night 7 of 8 nights of “Roots”…I didn’t tell anyone I was in labor because I didn’t want to miss any of the story.

At some point shortly after the 11 o’clock news began it was clear that I would have to let my family know…we were staying with my parents because of the blizzard and they were asking people to double up to be able to have the power to heat homes….so, out into the blizzard we went.

By the way, did I tell you that I only found out I was having twins 12 hours before that?

So off to the hospital where both babies were born within 2 hours.twin girls

4 lbs 1 and 4 lbs 10….wow…amazing.

Because they were early, they had breathing problems and had to be put into incubators immediately without us even getting to touch them…they lost weight down to near 3 lbs.

The incubator is where they stayed…for 16 days…we visited every day, scrubbed up to our elbows, put on gowns, masks and gloves and stood at incubators and talked to our babies and touched them and tried to let them know…somehow…that we were there.

Day 16 happened to be the date set for our baby shower so our intention was to visit with our babies then head off to the shower.

However, when we arrived on Day 16…it was clear we would be delayed getting to the shower.

The doctor wanted to see us

…he wanted to know if we wanted to feed them….WHAT?

Feed them?

For the first time they were taken out of their incubators and we were given tiny little bottles and were allowed to hold them and try to get them to eat from the bottle.

WE GOT TO HOLD THEM! Take them in our arms and cuddle them.

(We were very late for the shower)

Our daughters were born on January 29 so if you’re doing the math we held them for the first time on February 14…Valentine’s Day…

I             Love             Valentine’s Day.

Not because of the commercial push to get people to date or buy gifts or pressure people into proposals or dates or things they might otherwise recognize they are not ready to do…

…but because we held our babies for the first time.

Every year we celebrate not so much on January 29 but more so February 14…we celebrate the love between parents and children. Even with the not so wonderful Valentine’s Day experiences that came later, this moment preserved Valentine’s Day for me.

Being a parent gives us just a glimpse into how much God loves us,  God’s children…it helps us to better understand how loving that child doesn’t require they do or be something to earn it..

…that child is loved because she or he is your child…that’s all that is necessary.

It doesn’t matter if you are a birth child or an adopted child or however your family is built…it’s a special kind of love.

That’s how God loves you.god_loves_you

God loves you…on Valentine’s Day and every other day…but if you need a reminder and if you have a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s day like me…let it become a reminder that you are loved…that God loves all of us…each child.

Maybe…you will love Valentine’s Day too.

 

Advertisements

One response to “Valentine’s Day: A Love/Hate Relationship?

  1. Best Valentine’s Day story. Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s