Remembering Valentine’s Day as a child prompts excitement. My mother always made the occasion a big deal. Picking out the exact valentines for my school classmates took time and thought. First I’d sort through the red, cellophane, store-bought box of Valentines putting the biggest valentines in one pile, finding the valentine specially marked “teacher”, and carefully reading each valentine while matching it with the correct envelope.
The kitchen table was strewn with sorted stacks of heart-covered cards, each pile designated for a particular group of friends. The funny valentines went to some friends; the more serious messages were saved for “best” friends, and the rest were allotted to the remaining class members on the list provided by the teacher.
Receiving, reading, counting and, yes, sorting my valentines for days after Valentine’s Day was a friendship ritual that lasted most of my parochial school years. Much care was given to every aspect of Valentine’s Day. The decision to give “what and to whom” was very deliberate. Each envelope was carefully addressed and the exact heart shaped, messaged candy was added before sealing the envelope. Giving Valentine cards was an opportunity to affirm friendships and begin new ones. It was a special day of expressing and receiving friendship.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, I’m reminded of that special practice and will send messages of love and friendship to the women in my life who I want to grow old with. I’m scrapping the idea of adding candy. Most of my friends will be happy for that!
Are there ever enough days dedicated to expressing one’s appreciation? Isn’t it always time to give the gift of love and admiration? What are the special Valentine rituals that you engage in? Will you share? Will you be my Valentine?