Valentine’s Day.

(to make your own paper heart:

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” ― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I’m hoping to post for real today, but I just saw that quote on Twitter (tweeted by no less a figure than Newark mayor Cory Booker, who I follow and if you’re on Twitter, you should, too) and it just punched me in the solar plexus.

For all the reasons that everyone else like me is not much into Valentine’s Day, I’m not much into Valentine’s Day: It’s a corporate construct, romance is not a matter of flowers and chocolate, why should one day be more about love than the other 364(5)… etc, etc, ad nauseum. At dinner, I’ll give my beloveds handmade cards in which I tell each of them something about them that I love, and we’ll decorate homemade heart-shaped brownies together. I don’t generally get much of anything from anyone on Valentine’s Day (though last night the husband did get me some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups), but I’m kind of cool with that — it’s my day to make my family heart-shaped brownies.

But that quote, man. That quote! That’s a thing to ring in your ears and shape the way you live your life. What kind of love do I think I deserve? What kind of love do I want my children to think they deserve? How do I live my life in a way that helps others know themselves worthy of genuine, affirming, soul-breathing love? And the people out there accepting something less than that — who taught them to think that’s all they deserve?

So: Happy Valentine’s Day! Please find someone you love and tell them so, in a way that only they can hear. Romance — or any of love’s many forms — is not, in fact, flowers and chocolates. It’s treating someone like you know that they deserve great love, even on those days when they’re not sure.

(And apparently now I have another book to read).



  1. dmf

     /  February 14, 2012

    AMONG the men and women, the multitude,
    I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs,
    Acknowledging none else—not parent, wife, husband, brother, child, any nearer than I am;
    Some are baffled—But that one is not—that one knows me.

    Ah, lover and perfect equal!
    I meant that you should discover me so, by my faint indirections;
    And I, when I meet you, mean to discover you by the like in you.

    W.W. Leaves of Grass

  2. Everyday we should treat each other as if it is Valentines day. Also it is possible to observe the day without $ just take a moment and tell the people in your life that you love them.

    First take a moment and tell yourself that you love yourself.

  3. Darth Thulhu

     /  February 14, 2012

    If you can’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, celebrate Arizona Statehood Day! The most romantic of all statehood days! And today isn’t just any Arizona Statehood Day, to sit with handmade notes from your Arizona Statehood sweetheart while eating Arizona Statehood chocolates and holding Arizona Statehood Day floral bouquets.

    No! Today is even more Arizona Statehood-tacular! For today is Arizona Statehood Centennial! Fully 100 times as Romantic as other Arizona Statehood Days! Drown in the Chocolate Lovin’!!!1!!eleven1!

    • caoil

       /  February 14, 2012

      I kid you not, this made me laugh at my desk.

      • Darth Thulhu

         /  February 14, 2012

        If just one blazing ray of the searing sky orb’s light has warmed the circulatory pump of even one person, my Arizona Statehood Day goals are complete! 🙂

  4. SWNC

     /  February 14, 2012

    You know, I’ll admit it–I am into Valentines Day. I don’t need big fancy gifts or a meal at an expensive restaurant. But I will gladly take the reminder to show my nearest and dearest that I love them. (And yes, I show them every day. But cleaning up the cat vomit so your spouse doesn’t have to do is a different way of showing love than making them a lovely, special occasion dessert.)

    Last year, Slate ran an essay that I loved:

    Love isn’t “romance,” anyway. The real Valentine’s Day comes on the day your husband stands beside you when you lose a baby, and day after day after week after month of misery after. It’s the day your father tells you he never liked that guy anyway. The morning when your daughter hands you a rumpled card she made a week ago at school, and it shows every single member of your family asleep in bunk beds in the same room while Santa Claus walks by. It’s the sudden hug from a running little boy, the big kid who leans on you and then offers to build his sister her lego house, and the preschooler who says “I love you, Mommy” while she puts her cup, wrong side up, in the dishwasher. It’s every “I was thinking of you” card your mother puts in the mail. Love is the everyday stuff and the tough stuff. Valentine’s Day is just the day we wave it around and have a party for it….

    The tiny plastic heart ring or pack of hockey cards with a big heart sticker that we put next to the Valentine’s Day breakfast plate lays a tiny part of the foundation for the love we share with our kids-love we hope they’ll be strong enough and brave enough and corny enough to share with others later.

    Be strong. Be brave. Show love.

    • caoil

       /  February 14, 2012

      That is a great piece – thanks for linking it! Might have to share it later on FB.

  5. caoil

     /  February 14, 2012

    Oh, and I agree absolutely, Emily. I like just taking the day to show/tell friends that I care about them and carry them with me.

    But also: