Today is Valentine’s Day, the day romance is supposed to bloom. The day cupids around the world shoot arrows into tender hearts of men and women – suspecting and oblivious. Sometimes those cupids miss completely. Sometimes they just graze their targets, alerting the intended to something…but nothing definite. And sometimes, they hit the bulls-eye, and months later weddings are planned or babies are born.
February 14th is the day we’re supposed to buy chocolates and roses. Cards and romantic dinners. Candy hearts that come in pastel shades and taste like chalk or are tiny and red and so spicy your tongue sizzles and crisps the moment you pop them in your mouth.
February 14th. A day for romance.
In this world of high stress, of joblessness, of skyrocketing health care costs, of instant messaging, 24 hour news and constant American presidential campaigning – we have one day for romance? That’s our allotment?
Of course, we can express love on other days but no other day is quite so… hmm… obligatory. It’s like a school project you knew you had to do but had so much time to do it, you put it off but now it’s crunch time and you have to do something so you scrape by with a last minute flourish and pass only because you did it, not because you did it well.
Not that I would want to see chocolatiers, florists or card makers suffer on the one day when they seek to rake in the cash they didn’t rake in during the year, but wouldn’t it be nice if we – and our loved ones – didn’t fall into the trap of required gift-giving? Why not buy a box of chocolate on August 8th? March 23rd. A card that says, “You’re special to me”, on June 17th. Reservations for candlelit dinners once per month – once every three months. Why do we have to be reminded – forced – to say, “I love you” on a given day. How true is an “I love you” that’s said when commanded? How true when it spontaneously slips through the lips of a special someone?
Some might argue that Valentine’s Day forces couples to slow down, to take time to express their love, to reconnect, rekindle. I would agree, though I find it sad we need such a forceful and commercial reminder to share special moments of the heart.
Buy those cards, hearts and flowers. Keep local businesses alive. But do something special, too. Something unexpected. Something to help you understand your partner in a more compelling way. Don’t just buy the commercial requirements of love. Reverse roles. For a few hours, do something he does regularly, let him do something you do. If you do the laundry, let him do it. If he cooks dinner, you do it. See what it’s like to be in the shoes of the one you love, appreciate what they do so often that it’s become the mundane and make it special. Show that you appreciate even those little things and you’ll both know the next time you do them that your mate understands… and that you’re probably a whole lot better at it than you thought.
Love isn’t just pink and red gift boxes. Love is a connection. A bond that we sometimes fight but holds tight.
If I were a cupid I’d be lazy too. Why flap my tiny wings and reach back into my quiver more than once per year if I don’t have to? The calendar says love should be expressed today, so I’d rouse early in the AM, aim my arrows and be done with it. Have you seen a cupid lately? They’re rather pudgy. They could use a little exercise. And so could we when it comes to love. Why not trick them, make them think love is to be expressed everyday – even if only for a few stolen moments. Make them work off those pounds. Fire those arrows. Stir us and keep florists and chocolatiers rolling in dough not once per year, but all year long.
Happy Hearts to you and to yours. Today and everyday.