Why Valentine’s Day is a keeper

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“Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale.”

Yes, like all holidays we celebrate these days, this one too goes overboard on the sales push of obligatory, overpriced items. Yes, we have entirely too many heart-shaped boxes, tacky stuffed animals and diamond rings commercials.

Someone said to me yesterday that Valentine’s day is ridiculously commercialized and contrived, and that we should ignore it. I suppose in principle I’d agree (although who would refuse some beautiful flowers, chocolates or a sparkly surprise). But ultimately I think it’s really nice that we have this day to exchange gifts, accept marriage proposals and crowd restaurants…even if it all seems a bit too predictable.

When you learn a bit about how memory works, you start to understand how we create our past, and how important milestones or special occasions are in the story of a life. We need the anniversaries, the graduations, the weddings…we need these days when we go out of our way to connect and create Kodak moments.

I’m not saying we have to only celebrate on designated occasions…by all means, make your own Valentine’s day or better…days! But if we’re going to have “official” celebrations, is a day of love the most offensive choice?

Today I sit here remembering dad and that horrible day 4 years ago when I received that horrible phonecall. And yes, I think of dad pretty much every day, and today I’m not just mourning…I celebrate the good things in his life. But this particular day, with its added heaviness I won’t mention here, is a somber day no matter how many happy memories I summon.

As one who has had a few anniversaries of her 29th birthday by now, I’ve been witnessing a noticeable increase in the number of days that mark rather unpleasant events. We remember diasters, funerals and the loss of loved ones. And so honestly, celebrating love, having a bit of fun with those tacky heart shaped boxes, some pretty flowers and whatever other gift doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Let’s keep it.

So, whether Valentine’s day happens for you tomorrow or at some other time in the near future, I wish you all much love, laughter and happiness. Don’t underestimate or forget about the magic of flowers and love letters…of tenderness…and I don’t need to tell you about the magic of chocolate! And most of all, hold on to that special someone in your life, whether he/she is there now or whenever they make an entrance…and help them help you create a beautiful fairy tale in an ordinary life.

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