Valentine’s Day when I was in elementary school was all about the actual valentines. No candy. No extras. What mattered was the names on the back of “Be My Valentine.” Giving valentines didn’t stop after school either. Children rang doorbells in the evening and ran so they wouldn’t get caught (though I don’t know why because they signed the cards). It was fun.
My pre-school brother felt a little left out, however. He ran to the door with the rest of us, but none of the valentines were for him. My younger sister and I saw this and devised an inclusive plan we hoped would cheer him up: We’d anonymously give him valentines. He’d get to race to the door, find his name on the back and carry the valentines around like we were doing.
Since we didn’t have any other valentines besides the ones we were given at school, my little sister and I found valentines from classmates that were signed in pencil. We erased the names carefully and completely before writing his name on the back. We slipped out the back door, rang the bell at the front door then ran back inside through the back door. Our little brother was excited! And, he only wondered for a moment who sent them. It was so fun!
The hype I hear about Valentine’s Day today is all about couples having the most romantic evening with the perfect setting, gifts, flowers and much more. Some singles have responded by calling the day “Single Awareness Day” in hopes of changing the focus. They are right to do so.
Valentine’s Day is about much more than couples. It’s about a young couple I know hoping their first child will be born today, Valentine’s Day. They didn’t seem to mind a bit that celebrating the baby’s birthday in the future would most likely include family, parents, cousins, children, and laughing and celebrating.
Valentine’s Day is about love, commitment, inspirations, wives, husbands and eternal marriage. It’s about cherishing and forgiving. It’s about holding hands even when those hands are wrinkled and weak. It’s about my children remembering the fun of “Kiss Me” on conversation hearts. And, yes, it also can be about romance and intimacy in varying degrees with marriage being the best place for the most intimate relations.
Nevertheless, let’s not lose sight of the fact that if Valentine’s Day were just for couples, we’d better ban elementary school children from giving valentines to classmates. They’re way too young for that.