Ah, Valentine’s Day.
The day of love so many tend to loathe while others welcome the warm fuzzies with gigantic appetites that rival my admiration for wine.
As a kid, I carefully crafted a Valentine’s Day mailbox for school every year (you know, back when you could celebrate shit in school without the worry of the teeniest tiniest chance of offending someone). Students weren’t required to participate but I can’t remember when a kid didn’t. Everyone in class gave everyone a Valentine. If a kid didn’t have a Valentine’s Day box, my teacher always had an extra shoebox or two wrapped in red paper. No one was left out.
I was always lucky that I had a family who liked to celebrate everything, so no holiday was left out. Not even one that I often hear guys claim is “made up” for women to get gifts. (Well fellas, if you treated your gals “special” all the time, grand gesture days wouldn’t be needed, now would they? You could simply just get a well meaning card or write a note from the heart any day of the year but I digress). We’d wake up to little Valentines on our chairs at the kitchen table, maybe along with a box of chocolates. Always excited for the party to take place that day at school.
Fast forward to high school when the day of admiration became a sport of sorts.
The Honor Society sold carnations for a dollar and the members would drop the carnation off to your designated Valentine anonymously. Some peeps had armloads. Some had none. I just wanted a pink one.
Some girls got called to the office and paraded delivered – delivered in a vase and everything – flowers around school. It didn’t matter if it was from their dad, grandparents or boyfriend. I was one jealous bitch. Then, in an instant, that all changed.
Because I became that girl.
The Honor Society members delivered carnations during first period. I was in concert band every morning with my sweet silver Doc Severinsen trumpet at my side. Open flung the doors and our band instructor stopped our warm-up. A group of kids came in hauling carnations in large buckets for their soon-to-be owners. While I was hoping to get a flower or two, my eyes laid sight on the mother of all Valentine’s day hauls. A gigantic, white stuffed teddy bear with a red bow around its neck, holding a bag of Hershey’s Kisses. So enormous, you couldn’t see the person transporting it.
I think I literally turned green with envy at whomever was going to be the recipient of this stuffed animal. I mean, I thought I would get a flower or two because my girlfriends and I always sent them back and forth. But this, this shit was different. This was the stuff that
warm and fuzzy, cheesy as fuck Valentine’s memories were crafted.
Being in the brass of the band, I sat in the last row of the room. And I’ll be damned if that fucking bear didn’t inch its way closer and closer. I kept thinking…which girl had a boyfriend that sat near me. I couldn’t wait to see who was going to get the pristine bear.
As the hidden stuffed animal transporter walked behind me, I almost gave myself whiplash looking to my left. But to my unabashed chagrin, that motherfucker was lifted over my head and sat into my lap. Hershey’s fucking kisses and all. To this day, that is one of my best Valentine’s Days (which may seem a little sad since my day of love peaked in high school but I mean, it’s true).
And it didn’t come from a love interest. Or the non-existent boyfriend I had at the time. It came from a friend. From a best friend who (although didn’t take me to his senior prom and I will never, ever let him forget it) remains a bestie to this day.
The teddy bear came from Scooby.
This gesture seemed like the grandest of all gestures in the universe at the time. All of these years later, it still does. My gay best friend gave me the best Valentine’s Day memory. Why? Because he didn’t have to do anything. But he loved me and wanted me to know. Isn’t that just a simple thing to do?
Grand gestures aren’t needed (but if any of you have a Louis Vuitton en route for delivery today, professing your love for me, I am not going to turn it down). A single flower is nice. A card will do. A simple text message. A smile, a hug, a thank you. Whether it’s love or like in today’s climate, bringing happiness to any and all of those around us isn’t really that hard. We just have to be kind to let one another know that we like – or even love – them.
More importantly, regardless of whether we are madly in love with our kids…
Regardless of whether we are madly in love with our romantic partner…
Regardless of whether we are madly in love with our friends…
Regardless of whether we are madly in love with our careers, jobs, co-workers….
Regardless of whether we are madly in love with extended family…
Regardless of whether we are madly in love with our fur babies (which you all know I’m bat shit about)…
Regardless of what it is in your life that you love, be madly in love with your own authentic self first.
If you don’t love – let alone like – yourself as your own #1, no one will love the you who is meant to be loved.
Be your own damn Valentine.
Make some snacks.
Toast to yourself.
I’m taking myself out with First Mate tonight – same as we did last year – to not only toast to our love of one another but also to how bad ass we both are in our own right.
Now treat yourself to your version of a stuffed teddy bear this Valentine’s Day. You deserve it.
Be the love of your own damn life.
Love ya, mean it.