February is a popular month. It is the month of Black History, Loius Riel Day and the global sensation of Nic-o-rama (aka my birthday). It is also the month we celebrate Valentine's Day. This is the day where once a year everyone goes crazy for pink and red hearts, stuffed animals and roses. This is the day you celebrate being part of a twosome by being worried that your lover will forget to love you properly. And if you are not part of a twosome you depress yourself by pondering your aloneness while you eat copious amounts of heart shaped chocolate. Happy Valentine's?
Or you take a healthier approach to this day and you broaden your scope of love.
I have never been a fan of Valentine's Day. It felt like a day when a lot of people were left feeling out of the loop. It seemed that for this one day if you were not part of a couple you were no one and to me that has never been an okay message to send. Not even for one day.
So the first year I was with Mr. Awesome I told him in no uncertain terms that I do not expect nor want any type of love fest on Valentine's Day. I do not need a grand gesture of love on February 14 because he loves me in a million small ways every day of the year. He went along with that, partly because he agreed with me and partly because it got him off the hook. Our ban on Valentine's Day lasted about three years and then I caved. I fell in love with a new man and everything changed.
The first Valentine's Day after Dude was born we celebrated Family Love Day. It wasn't anything we did intentionally or even officially, we were just so taken with this kid and this family-love that Valentine's Day became something totally different for us. That first year when Dude was 11 months old we celebrated the day with an extra long group cuddle in our bed, pancakes for breakfast and all the hugs and kisses the little man could handle. This tradition has carried on now for nine years. Every year we treat Valentine's Day like an anniversary for our family, a day when we love each other on purpose.
It is our hope that as our kids get older they will continue to see February 14 as a day to love the people who are important to them instead of only focusing on and seeking out romantic love. The world is full of broken hearted people who look past the true love in their lives, the love of friends and family, and focus only on the wisp of emotion they feel they are missing. They spend Valentine's Day, and many other random days throughout the year, feeling sad and lonely when they could be embracing the love that they have from the people who really matter in their lives.
One of our favourite movies is Love Actually. It is the story of the intertwining lives of people who are searching for love but it is not just about romantic love. In fact, one of our favourite scenes is where the washed up rock star realizes that the 'love of his life' is his manager, the man who has been with him through thick and thin, the man who is his best friend.
So Valentine's Day, for us, isn't about romance and 'proving' love, its about celebrating love, real, messy, everyday Love. Here's the opening scene from Love Actually ... one of the best truths about love I have ever seen.