Valentine’s Day just passed. It’s been a bittersweet holiday for me for the last two years. My dad passed away on V-day in 2008, but at the same time, J and I started officially dating on V-day in 2001. I know the focus of V-day is romantic love – the love that Hollywood and romance novels portray as knee-shaking, stomach-churning love. The romantic love you see connected intricately to infatuation, happily-ever-after, and fairytales. So those that aren’t in said relationships pooh-pooh the holiday. After all, there’s no point in celebrating a holiday on love if you don’t have “love,” right?
Actually, one thing about this holiday that I’ve come to understand is that the celebration isn’t about just romantic love. It’s about celebrating life, and those people in our life who we love. I’m talking about mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, great-grandparents (those who are lucky enough to have actually met their greats). I’m talking about friends, best friends, friends who’ve been there for you. Friends you love and friends who love you. I’m talking about extended family. Family you’ve married into. I’m talking about anyone and everyone in your life that you love. That’s what this holiday is about. It’s about reaching out to those people NOW, before it’s too late, before they’re sick or worse, gone. It’s about saying I love you. It’s about sharing why you love them and how much you love them. It’s about family and friends and loved ones. It’s about love in the grandest form of the word.
Romantic love is nice, sure. But it’s only a tiny bead in the weaving of relationships.
We were supposed to start V-day with a mass for my dad, but it was too cold, and at my mother’s suggestion, we stayed home in the morning making heart-shaped pancakes for L. Then, when it warmed up a little, we went to my mom’s and spent the afternoon there. Me and my mom, J and his mom, and L. Little L who sometimes reminds me so much of my dad. We had my mom’s famous chicken and meat lasagna, and we had wonderful conversations. We laughed. We walked. We drove around. But most importantly, we spent it together. The five of us. It was nice. We often get lost in all the “have-to’s” of day-to-day life that we forget all the “need-to’s.” There’s a difference.