When I was in middle school, Valentine’s Day meant two things: Crush cans and Heart-O-Grams.
Every year around this time, boys would line up outside the main office itching to buy their lady friends one or the other, sometimes even both. The Crush can was simply a little thing of orange soda with a sweet note attached to the side of it, while the Heart-O-Gram went the whole nine yards. I’m talking dozens of red and pink heart-shaped balloons weighed down by chocolates, sealed with a single rose and a handwritten love letter. Of course, when you’re a young teenage girl, it’s not the thought that counts, but the count that counts. Who could get the most delivered to them by the end of the day?
Please don’t misread this post as some kind of pity party for myself, because I did get my fair share. Did I walk out of the building with the most? Not at all, but looking back on those awkward, formative years makes me now realize how truly lucky I am and how this holiday means so much more than what’s put into those sappy cards.
I’ve grown up with friends who have stood by my side through all of my twists and turns; friends who I know I’ll have for the rest of my life and memories to match. I was raised by parents who find themselves loving each other more each and every day. And I have a man who loves me for all that I am, all that I have been, and all that I’m yet to be. I waited for what feels like forever, and have gone through a decent handful of “you’re really single” moments, to find this kind of bliss.
Valentine’s Day is not about cramming into some overcrowded restaurant or hunting for a last-minute gift. It’s about recognizing all of the love that surrounds you. Take time, especially today, to appreciate that.