I remember going to the grocery store and picking out pre-made Valentine’s day cards with pop culture references that were at least a year old. I carefully separated the little rectangles along the perforated edges and wrote my classmates’ names on them one by one.
The next day, like I imagine happens in most middle schools, we would each pass around our cards and end up with a small pile of little paper rectangles and an assortment of candy hearts and chocolate. Upon arriving home, I would go through my pile and see that all my classmates had given me a card, and some of them even spelled my name right.
Even though I knew we were required to bring a card for everyone, even though cards were rarely personalized I always really liked Valentine’s day. It was the one time of year when you could give a card to a random person in your class just telling them that they were pretty great without someone taunting you because you had a crush.
I know that Valentine’s day has come to be a celebration of romantic love and cynically being single, but that’s just not what it is for me. Maybe this just means I am resisting reality, but I’m ok with that.
I’m ok with taking a day to realize that I have parents who support me no matter what. They care about me and are not only willing, but eager to help me achieve my dreams.
My sister who, despite me being the most consistent tattle tale until I was eleven, loves me from half way across the globe. She shares her world with me and shows me that I can find love wherever I am as long as I am happy.
I like taking this day to remember that the distance between me and my best friends has never changed our friendships. Our love stretches distance in ways I would never expect, but have always cherished.
I have grandparents and aunts and uncles who simply want to spend time with me when I come home. My cousins share baby corn with me at Shabbat dinners and then we play Penguin Pile-Up, even though it’s meant for children half our age. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
My friends push me to be the best I can be. They challenge me as a writer, as a friend, and as a person in general. I would never be where I am today without their constant encouragement.
These people have given me so much love and life. I can never thank them enough for that. Valentine’s Day can be a holiday about of all types of love. I’m so lucky to have an abundance of love worth celebrating.