I stayed up long after my family went to bed last night just so I could decorate the kitchen for Valentine’s Day. We have been snowed in here in North Carolina since Tuesday, so I had to think of a homemade way to tell my family just how much they mean to me on this special day.
I made a heart for each person in my family and I wrote all the things that I love about them. On Joe’s, I wrote a letter telling him all of the many reasons I love him. This is the heart I made for my daughter Crawford:
So many people have a cynical view of Valentine’s Day, but even though I have spent most of my life not celebrating it with a “Valentine,” I see it as such a joyous celebration of love and life. It’s a day that makes me want to be even kinder to everyone I encounter – whether it be at work or Starbucks. No matter who you are, you know that it feels good to be loved.
When my husband walked out of the bedroom this morning, I literally popped up in bed with a smile. I can’t explain the joy I felt just knowing that he would feel loved when he walked into the kitchen and saw his heart. I reached over and read an email telling me about the death of my friend’s husband who has been fighting cancer.
My heart fell… and it fell far.
What a juxtaposition of feelings I was feeling. The joy of love and life. The sadness of loss and death. All within a few moments. My sweet husband brought me breakfast in bed soon after and all I could do was think about my friend losing her husband… on Valentine’s Day. It certainly set the stage for a pretty sad day.
It was slow moving this morning as I got ready for work. I started letting everything bother me. I got sad thinking about not having my daughter and son with me on Valentine’s Day. Silly, I know. It’s not like it’s a “major holiday,” but I was disappointed just the same. My heart was feeling very weighted down.
Then my sweet step-daughter came skipping into my bathroom and said, “Do you want to dress up with me today?” She wanted to wear a heart bathrobe and a pink hairbow to go to work with me. In a quick dismissal I said, “It’s a place of business, so we need to look nice.” As she walked out of the room looking disappointed, I decided in that moment that I couldn’t let the bad news ruin my entire day. I needed to live my day to the fullest and do whatever I could to make the day a little better for someone, ANYONE, else.
So Hattie and I headed in to work and she said, “Since I am not at school today and can’t tell all my classmates Happy Valentine’s Day, I am going to tell everyone I see Happy Valentine’s Day from this point on…”
And she did.
For the rest of the day, that sweet girl said “Happy Valentine’s Day” to EVERYONE she encountered. One of my co-workers took her down to get cupcakes for the office and she said it to every person in the cafe (including my boss – who she didn’t know was my boss).
When we left work, she spoke to every person we passed on the way to the car. Once in the car, she yelled out the window to people on the side of the road and people pumping gas. She said it to the homeless man sitting alone in the corner at Starbucks. She said it to the old couple getting in their car next to us. Here is a quick video I took: http://youtu.be/jQJrw8OAFso.
She had said she would stop once she got to 30, but once she got to 30 she said, “You know how sometimes you have extra valentines, so you give those out too? I’m going for the extra.”
SHE MADE MY DAY. And not to mention she made the day of numerous people all over Raleigh. And all by showing just a little bit of kindness and a smile. And that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about. It’s not about romantic love. It’s about showing those around us love and by showing those we love just how much we love them. THAT is what it’s all about. It’s about making others feel good. It’s about spending time when people. It’s about telling our family and friends WHY we love them.
Tonight at dinner, when my step-daughter said to my husband, “We had the best day ever,” I realized just how much joy she brought to my day. And then she looked at me and said, “I have a poem for you for Valentine’s Day: Roses are red, violets are blue, Yes I have a big smile, but you do too.”
Yes, sweet girl. I do tonight and it is because of you…