Valentine's Day: what it is, and what it isn't, about

So yesterday passed the holiday that may be my "least" favorite, although "least" is sort of misleading as I do like it, just not with the same fervor as the other holidays in my life. I've written about Valentine's Day before, both my feelings of ambivalence about it, and the importance it has taken on as a way to stop, look at my children, and write for and about them. Some families share a birthday letter with their children each year; for me, it is the handmade Valentine that has come to be that moment when I look at them, the people they have each been and become over the last year, and write about it to them. (Most of my handmade valentines have been rubber-stamped, but my favorites were the fabric hearts from three years ago.)


Anyway, this year, we were horribly and desperately sick from February 3rd onward. First, with sinus and upper respiratory crud, and then, starting last week, with a stomach virus that knocked both me and James out for a full six days. I never got to make my handmade valentines this year. Instead, very humbly, I wrote my babies' love notes into store-bought cards, and felt a tiny bit of loss as I did it. There were no heart garlands, no heart bunting.

Instead, there were plain store-bought cards, simple gifts, lunch from Chipotle, and celebration at having recovered from almost two weeks of illness. And I think that is a pretty beautiful Valentine's Day, don't you?