Friday, February 6, 2009

Will you be my Valentine?

Will you be my Valentine?
By Julie Stankowski

When you think of Valentine’s Day, what pops into your mind? Love, hearts, romance, roses, chocolates, champagne, $4.00 Hallmark cards, overpaying for dinner? Some people think Valentine’s Day is just a commercialized holiday created by florists, restaurateurs and greeting card executives simply for profit. True or not, that is a quite cynical viewpoint. Instead, choose to look at Valentine’s Day as a very special gift to yourself enabling you to celebrate those you love and appreciate. There are so few days of the year inked out for this purpose that we really should take advantage of the opportunity. Voicing our love is always good. Everybody loves being loved.

Yes, I know it has been said, but I will say it again, especially in light of the current economy. You need not spend money to show your Valentine your love! Don’t get me wrong. I readily admit that any woman would be thrilled to find a diamond tennis bracelet swimming in her champagne glass. But, for those who feel it would be more fiscally responsible to walk right by Tiffany’s and forgo taking out a loan on Valentine’s Day, I will generously share with you some of my quirky ideas to make your Valentine feel special.

Pretend you are young and create a homemade greeting card with your kids’ art supplies. Taking the time to make your own card is so much more special than running into the stationery store looking through cards you have seen year after year after year. Serve breakfast in bed using a tray adorned with heart-shaped pancakes, fresh raspberries, a glass of champagne and a condom package. When you wake up on Valentine’s Day, take out some oil or lotion and give your partner an unexpected and soothing foot massage. Tell your partner you know how hard he/she works and offer to watch the kids and the dog for the afternoon so he/she can get some much-needed alone time. Bake your love’s favorite flavor pie. Get a Brazilian bikini wax in the shape of a heart and surprise your beau. Cut fresh flowers from your garden and arrange them around a bubble-filled and candlelit bathtub. Send the kids for a sleepover at Grandma and Papa’s house, cook a romantic dinner and eat it like a picnic in front of the fireplace. Clear your junk off the bathroom counter so your husband can have at least a quarter of the countertop for his stuff. Write your lover a poem. Create a coupon book and be creative. Find an old photo of the two of you and attach a post-it note saying you love him even more now. Give lots of hugs and kisses and I love you’s.

Here is another idea. Start a Valentine’s Day tradition with your spouse or children. Family traditions are not reserved for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I look forward to Valentine’s Day every year. My Dad and I have a thing. Well, actually my Dad gives a thing and I get a thing, but . . . it is not about the “thing” (although I always love the “thing”). It is about the fact that my Dad takes the time to show me how much he cares about me. You see, he knows that I love perfume. So, each February, my Dad goes to Nordstrom and looks at all the new, hot perfumes that have come out on the market within the last year. He takes time to smell each fragrance (he even knows to cleanse his sense of smell by taking a whiff of the coffee beans in between testing different perfumes) and thoughtfully decide which he thinks I would like best. He also evaluates the beauty of the bottles. He has the gift exquisitely wrapped and comes to my house on February 14th with the perfume of course, but always with a beautiful card and a huge hug for his “Princess.” It’s our tradition. All Dads should be as thoughtful and loving as mine!

Okay, here is my last thought on this topic. If you are one of those cynics I mentioned earlier (believe me, there are many; I promise you are not alone), and just cannot seem to get past the commercialization of Valentine’s Day, take the following into consideration. I have tried to teach my children that the best gifts anybody can ever give or receive are, “Just Because Gifts.” Doing or giving something, “just because,” means so much more than doing or giving something expected for a holiday, birthday or anniversary. It just feels more pure, real, deep, sensitive and meaningful when a gift (tangible or not) comes out of left field, on an ordinary day, is unnecessary and is done or given for no particular reason at all. It just says, loudly and profoundly, “I care about you and I did this for you ‘just because’ I love you!”

So, whether you opt for denim or diamonds this Valentine’s Day or you opt out altogether and decide to go for a “just because” moment on a different day, make your Love feel special. The biggest bonus is that making someone else feel special makes you feel good too. And this is true every day of the year!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You go Ms. Romantic Mama! Love the inspiration! May have to skip the heart-shaped pubies, but otherwise got some great ideas! What a lucky man you are married to... Hope he knows it!!