By Kate Flinn
I love Valentine’s Day. It’s such a great little pick-me-up in the dead of winter that focuses on the happy colors of red and pink and most importantly, chocolate! But, I didn’t always view Valentines with such whimsy and delight.
When I was in college, if we were not in a relationship, my friends and I affectionately referred to Valentine’s Day as a “Black Day,” much like the dreaded day after Thanksgiving. For us being unhitched during a holiday that revolves around romance and being in love, it seemed only appropriate to refer to it this way. That didn’t stop us from celebrating with each other, though. My single girlfriends and I used to get together and go out for a nice dinner and fun night on the town, celebrating our friendship and the fact that we always had a good time with each other. It also helped that my mom and dad would send me a box of chocolates reminding me that they loved me. Quite frankly, that was fine because, hey, what’s better than a free box of chocolates, right?
Fast forward to 2013. I’m happily married for almost 10 years and am the proud parent of two wonderful children. I notice these days the main theme of Valentine’s Day is still “love,” but it seems so many people forget to distinguish the type of love they celebrate. They often think of Valentine’s Day-style love as the romantic kind shared between two people, when in fact the term love refers to friendship, family and kindness, too.
Last year, my daughter’s preschool class was instructed to make homemade “friendship” cards for their classmates. We had a ball gluing heart shaped confetti onto doilies and writing nice things to friends (okay….I did the writing…she was 2). I think this message that comes from a 2-year-old’s class should be shared for all ages because it is such a simple task that means so much.
Lately, every year my husband and I try to have a date night around the time of Valentine’s Day and to reserve Feb. 14 as a family day. This year in our home Valentines Day will be a weeklong event that revolves around performing random acts of kindness for friends and family, like baking cookies for our great-grandmothers and heart shaped dog treats for our furry family members.
So, when talking to your kids about Valentines Day, whether they are 3 or 23, I recommend taking the “2-year-old approach” and focus on the fact that it is a day designed to celebrate that we are all “loved,” rather than “in love.”
What is your favorite way to celebrate Valentines Day with your little loved ones?
Kate Flinn is a member of The Mansfield Mothers' Club, a non-profit organization aimed at providing support for local parents. For more information visit http://mansfieldmothersclub.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Mansfield Mothers' Club, P.O. Box 831, Mansfield, MA 02048.