When Rob and I were young, Valentine’s Day didn’t exist in Australia. It was something we saw and learned about from the television and magazines. As a consequence, we’ve never really paid much attention to the day. It just hasn’t been on our radar and subsequently it didn’t have much of an impact on our children during their formative years.
In saying that, as our children moved into their teens, Valentine’s Day began to speak to them through marketing campaigns that crept into Australia through retail outlets and via the media. Over the last 10 to 15 years Valentine’s Day has grown in popularity and really, who can resist chocolate and a day dedicated to it? To not know about Valentine’s Day, in this day and age, you would need to live under a rock.
To be honest, when Valentine’s Day was first introduced I didn’t really like it simply because it seemed to single out those who were most vulnerable. The vulnerable being those who hadn’t experienced what the day celebrates, which is romantic love. I recall thinking about the teens who didn’t have a Valentine and wondered if they felt devalued in front of their friends at school. The thought troubled me. I remember how my daughter, Anna, would give a rose to many of the young girls at school. Anna did this in secret because she too wondered how those who were seemingly ‘left out’ felt. She loved seeing their faces as they discovered a rose, just for them.
As a Youth leader, and in the early days of Valentine’s Day in Australia, I watched as many young girls would shrink in shame when they didn’t receive anything. It was heart-breaking to see their self-worth affected in such a negative way by something that was intended to show love and value.
As the years have rolled on, I am excited to see that more and more people are using Valentine’s Day to bless anyone in their lives who are special to them. This allows everyone to be someone’s Valentine and to be shown that we have great worth. Which is the truth about every person on the planet.
This past Valentine’s Day I was reminded of this message of value through a beautiful expression shared by my 4-year old grand daughter, Tilly.
Tilly made me a beautiful Valentine’s card that was dressed and decorated with more hearts than you could ever imagine. Tilly had decided she was going to give it to me on Valentine’s Day. However, when the day arrived she quickly changed her mind. Even though she had written Grandma on the card and envelope, she decided that her beautiful Aunty Anna was deserving of her special gift and heart-felt message. She changed her mind simply because Aunty Anna was ‘Ruthie’s Mummy’. That makes sense to a four year old, right?
Valentine’s Day came and went and on Sunday, Tilly, like a true woman, had changed her mind, yet again. She decided that her well thought out card should actually be given to Grandma. Her card served as a beautiful reminder of how much I needed to care for her, love her and show her what real, true love looks like. Love that values, honors and respects. Love that speaks of her incredible worth.
After years of trying to understand the meaning of this day I, being a (once) girlfriend, a wife, a mother and grandmother I can see the benefits of a day in the year where we are all reminded to love those who are close to us and to do something special for them just because we love them.
This year, Rob and I took our eldest granddaughter out for dinner and the movies on Valentine’s Day. It was such a blessing as we sat and listened to her excitement about her upcoming school camp. She’s in year nine and as she spoke I sat marvelling at how this lovely girl had grown into such a beautiful young lady. I thought about how honoured Rob and I were to treat her to a Valentine’s Day dinner and to show her, even in this small way, how special she is and how her worth is so great.
As we travel through 2015 let’s create days for those we love, let’s not wait until Valentine’s Day 2016. Let’s do it often and do it wisely. Love is an expression that can be felt in so many ways.
Enjoy each other,