Valentine's Day is a polarizing holiday. There are people who zestily partake of every sugar-hearted, sentimental moment, and there are people who hate it. Hate the red mylar heart balloons, the endless commercials for Giving Something Special, the school parties, think that love is something that should be celebrated every day, not just on one, bla bla bla.
I'm in between. There's something nice about a corny holiday that encourages you to celebrate all the different kinds of loving connections you're in possession of: filial, romantic, platonic. Should we celebrate love every day? Sure. Absolutely. But do you? Really? That you do it today, on a Designated Loooove Day, doesn't mean you can't do it, for no reason, on other days. But we all forget to, sometimes, in the march of daily life. Apropos of nothing but discussion of Valentine's Day, I loathe those little candy hearts that taste like sweetened plaster.
On the everyday show of love front, I am very lucky. My husband knows me— as do my children, who have nicknamed me (fondly, I hope) The Coffee Zombie— and still (somehow) loves me, and so, every morning, he fills up our caffetiera with water and coffee, heats up milk, and makes caffe lattes. And then (and usually only then, because The Coffee Zombie is fearsome and not to be tampered with), he wakes me up. It's something he's done for years, day in and day out, and I cannot express how much I relish it.This Valentine’s Day, I brought the coffee to him. He deserves it and I love him, but, also, well… he isn’t hopping into the kitchen and making the coffee for the next little while. He and the kids woke up to the now-traditional home-doodled Valentine’s Day cards (usually done the night before, or that morning, as rapidly as possible), which is a little bit Martha (but too hurriedly done to be full-on Martha). Most of the ones pictured are a couple of years old; the kids save them and carry them around and talk about them, which I have to say only encourages me to keep it up. My dad, for many years, has sent each of his children and grandchildren a card for Valentine’s Day, and each year, it's a small thing that I find I look forward to. Seeing the pink or red envelope in the mail makes me smile. When I started making the cards, the simple pleasure of my dad's reliable-as-clockwork cards were definitely on my mind. And you know, as crass as Valentine’s Day may be, sometimes it’s fun to revel in tacky, unironic sappiness. And, okay, I might have given Gimp-a-licious a hopscotch-themed card. But I also made him fresh-squeezed blood orange juice and scraped the frost off his car windows so he wouldn't have to.Take the time to enjoy something unapologetically corny with someone you love. And have a happy Valentine's Day.