As I sat in the hair salon this past weekend getting some long overdue Brazilian curly hair sewn into my head, it was only a matter of time before the hot topic of Valentine’s Day came up. One by one the stylists and their clients went around and commented on what they wanted, what they’d actually be getting and what they had been surprised with in the past. I’ve had more uneventful Valentine’s Days than amazing ones, but when I think of it some of the best ones were spent with people that many don’t typically associate with your boy Cupid: my family.
Do you remember candygrams? If not, I’m sure your school had some embarrassing system to prove just how popular someone was as they floated through their school day carrying more and more plastic roses or those disgusting candy hearts after each class. I was always the one waiting on a candygram from a crush that never came. A part of me was comforted by the fact that I was the girl who was always dating someone at another school (honestly, except that he wasn’t actually in high school at all). But I’ve never had a secret admirer, and in grade school my note always came back with “No” checked. But the one thing I could depend on for Valentine’s Day was that I would come home to little boxes of chocolates and cards spread across our dining room table courtesy of my mom. Just that little reminder that someone, somewhere thought I was special was better than a $1 store rose with a scraggly misspelled message delivered to my homeroom any day.
I hate to be in my Charlie Brown “what matters most” bag, but as I talked a manic friend down from over-analyzing and obsessing about how much to do and not do in a new relationship for Valentine’s Day, I had to remind her that it doesn’t matter how much a man does on one day, what matters most is how he acts for the other 364 days of the year. There will be men buying roses and candy for their “main” on February 14th only to spend the night with their sidepiece on February 15th. Valentine’s Day should be about the people who love you, support you and put up with you all year long. Those are the people you should be going out of your way to make feel special.
If you haven’t been doing so already, remember there are other sections in the Hallmark aisle besides “For Him”. I don’t mean to be a Valentine’s Day Grinch but let’s be honest: That big bear is eventually going to sit in the corner and get dusty while triggering your allergies all spring long, your flowers will die, and half of those candies are filled with disgusting coconut and chocolate nougat. It truly is the thought that counts. Even if you’ve been doing it all year, obsess just as much over letting your parents, your girls, your siblings and your kids know how much you love and appreciate them. You never know but you may have someone whose candygram got lost in the mail and that little box of butter creams may just make their day.
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.