I celebrate Valentine’s Day because of my mom.
Because we always celebrated Valentine’s Day.
My mom was the first I knew to say that Valentine’s is a holiday for love, and anyone who thinks romantic love is the only kind worth celebrating is an idiot.
Valentine’s growing up meant making cards for everyone in the family. It meant my dad buying my mother roses and a large box of chocolates (that us kids actually ate). It meant a fancy meal (by fancy I mean my mom broke out the lace tablecloth from her grandmother that had the coffee stain that she strategically hid under the flowers), with lit candles, and some sort of trinket gift sitting at each place.
Some years it was a heart shaped balloon for each, another a small plush, often it was candy, once it was a necklace that I wear when I want to recall my family’s love.
After dinner, we would make a giant heart shaped cookie cake, and take turns writing our names out in my mom’s always perfect buttercream frosting (I don’t know why, I just can never make my frosting as good as hers’). She said the cookie heart filled with our names represented our family, and how our hearts were filled with each other.
Yes, cheesiness runs in the family.
My first year away in college I got super homesick around Valentine’s Day, and ended up crying to my mom on the phone as she discussed who would be home for dinner and cookie cake that year.
The next day I got a giant jar of chocolate covered raisins in the college post office, with a note encouraging me to make heart shaped cookies regardless of where I was or who I was with. (Chocolate covered raisins were a treat I learned to eat because my mom liked them, and it became our special thing, sharing a bag of chocolate covered raisins, which none of my siblings particularly liked).
Every year since then my parents’ have sent me something for Valentines’ day, whether it be random spatulas, eco sourced candy (that did NOT taste good), hand lotion, chocolate, heavily wrapped homemade wacky cake, flowers, a gift card to a local restaurant, etc. etc.
They don’t really give me birthday gifts anymore, but somehow I know they will always try to treat me for Valentines’ Day.
Because anyone who thinks a holiday of love is only meant for romance IS an idiot.