For some of us, Valentine’s Day elicits a cynical response. It’s a holiday of strange expectations, most of which fail – often miserably. In the spirit of those failures, I admitted to a friend that I had once received an electric can opener as a Valentine. She laughed and replied that she had once gotten a 2 inch teddy bear from a drug store checkout line. At least, she opined, the can opener was (probably) useful. And to be honest, I had suggested to my beloved only a few weeks earlier in a post-Christmas rant that I didn’t need any more tchotchkes; I preferred practical gifts. Admittedly, then, it was a thoughtful, if decidedly unromantic gesture. You do, in fact, reap what you sow.
Of course, even if I mouth the words “the holiday doesn’t mean much” or “please don’t go to any trouble”, it’s hard for me not to want some small but well considered gesture that shows just how much you love me.
You do love me, right?
I suspect that deep down, many people share the thought; and so, perhaps, the bouquet of long stemmed roses or the big, beribboned box of chocolates is worth the expense and effort. But to my mind, the real gift of love in this harried and hurried era of regular smart phone alerts is the gift of undivided time and attention. So, consider a Valentine date and dinner with your phone turned off and your attention turned on your beloved.
Naturally, I think that sitting down to a meal of real food, made by real people who care about what they do is the best way to celebrate any day – so, sharing one of our pizzas and a Kepner Melt followed by a luscious Valentine cupcake or two makes an ideal date. But, even if you stay in or go out for sushi, keep your eyes on what you really love, and the day will be a success – even if there’s a can opener under that bow.
A wise friend once shared some ancient wisdom that says if there’s something that you really want, you must first give it away. So if you think about it, time and the attention are the only gifts that keep on giving.
Happy Valentine’s Day – hope we see you and yours soon.