Many people are surprised when I tell them that Valentine’s is my favorite holiday. In fact, it’s one of the only holidays where I regularly buy presents and send cards. Who wouldn’t enjoy a holiday expressly to celebrate love?
Some years ago, I read (and re-read) bell hooks’s book All About Love: New Visions. In it, hooks describes all different kinds of love. Other important kinds of love that get over-shadowed and forgotten by the shine of romantic, passionate love. Love for friends, family members, companions, pets, and ourselves. They all count.
When I think about love, a few notable examples of extraordinary acts in the ordinary act of daily life spring to mind. My father, in his final months of decline, still made dinner for my mother every night. The cancer had metastasized into the bones of his right forearm. Each day, he rested his turgid, swollen arm so he could expend his whole day’s worth of energy in that single act of love.
Earlier on, when he first started to get sick, he delegated his Valentine’s duties to me. He used to enlist me to go out and buy my mother something on his behalf. To this day, I still carry on the tradition.
I also think fondly of the fruit skewers my friend’s mom made for her engagement party. I’ve only made regular meat and veggie skewers, but they’re a lot of work! I can only imagine the time and effort this mother put in to make her daughter’s party something special. Each skewer contained a rainbow array of carefully cut fruits. A cut watermelon hosted the artfully arranged skewers. This clearly took a lot of patience to accomplish. And they weren’t the only thing on the food table.
Even thinking about it for a short time, I can quickly think of dozens of examples. That’s why Valentine’s to me is about all love. The day is not exclusively for romantic, passionate love. Who wouldn’t appreciate flowers, chocolates, decadent baked goods, or a good meal with enjoyable company?
Happy Valentine’s (or Galentine’s) Day!