When I was a kid, Valentine’s day was all about the school party. The party moms would come in and set up while we were at recess. We’d arrive to streamers and little pink and red plates. There were always heart shaped jello jigglers made by my mom because she was always one of the party moms. We’d exchange cards and go home happy and all sugared up. It was one of the best days of the year.
As a teen, it was all about who bought whom a carnation. Carnations are (in my opinion) the worst flowers in the world. Not just my option, they’re junk. But…in high school all we wanted was for our crush to buy us one of those junk flowers.
Now that I’ve been married for almost 20 years, I still love Valentine’s Day. It’s looked different over the years. When the babies were little, just a few minutes without crying or pee was a treat. And I’m just talking about me. Now that our kids are older, sneaking away for a lunch or dinner date isn’t as unheard of. We enjoy those things, but I feel loved when Ryan walks the dog all winter because I hate being cold, or sends me to bed early so I can catch up on sleep. Maybe it’s teaching our boys how to serve others by treating me and the girls to a three course dinner. He finds a way to show me each and every day that he loves me.
If you are in a relationship, the best way to do a check-up on the way you’re loving that person is to look at this verse. (There’s a reason people always read it at weddings.)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
When you learn to write, you’re told to avoid words like always and never because there’s almost always an exception which will make your statement false. But with love, it’s okay to use extremes to describe it because it is all of those things. As a checklist, I have so far to go with these attributes, but it’s a wonderful goal. My love is sometimes patient (Of course, not in the morning or when we’re trying to get out of the house). I’m kind as long as I’m not hungry or tired. You get the point. It’s something to strive for. And of course, love isn’t something we manufacture. It should flow from the love we receive from God. I know that feels like an awkwardly spiritual answer, but it’s true. Love comes from God so when I’m not connected to Him, I’m terrible to people. But when I am, patience is a little easier, I want to put others first, and I don’t fly off the handle at every turn.
Valentine’s Day has meant different things to me throughout my life. I still love jello jigglers, but I love the "married for a long time" phase. I like that Nora is semi-grossed out when Ryan and I kiss, but she also sometimes asks us to. I love that something as simple as making Ryan coffee will make him smile and feel cherished. Because, although the big gestures are cool, and he does a lot of those, it’s the little things in the day to day that make us feel loved. Also, he’s never bought me carnations.