Forget About The Other Guys, I’m Spending Valentine’s Day With My Dad
My earliest memories of Valentine’s Day begin at age five. Some of my first gifts came from kindergarten classmates: cards made from red and pink construction paper, cookies with red M&Ms and those classic pastel heart candies with phrases like “Be Mine” and “Love Me.” As I dated in high school, the gifts got a bit more advanced: red roses, a gold ring with three hearts, dinner and movies and those wonderful Blue Mountain cards.
By the time I graduated college and found myself single and just “chilling” with guys, the Valentine’s Day celebrations began to suck. The men I dated were cynical about all of the romantic, costly, silly and traditional trappings of February 14th. Their influence slowly weaned me away from celebrating the day as well. Valentine’s Day during my adult years has been hit or miss depending on the year and the guy. But not too long ago I realized that I miss the fun of the holiday. While I am not in a romantic relationship with a guy that gives me butterflies, I am loved by a very special man. I plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my Dad.
Yes, Valentine’s Day is most noted as a day for romance and passion and things of that nature, but the symbol for the day is a heart and early in life we learned that the icon represents “love.” For the millions of single folks that are a bit jaded about February 14th, rewind your thinking back to the basics. Go back to being in the pureness of the sentiment and say, “Who do I love?” “Who do I want to express my love too?”
When I was 5, I gave my teacher a Valentine’s Day card. I loved her, and simply wanted her to know I thought she was a sweet, caring and fun teacher. As an adult, the last time I had a memorable Valentine’s Day was four years ago when my last relationship ended. Rather than be a cynic and complain about the commercialism of the day, I choose to celebrate the day with the first man to love me unconditionally.
I love my father and all the amazing things he has done for me in my life. He has taught me how to be a competitor, the meaning of loyalty to your family, the NY Jets, Mets and Knicks, how to ride a bike with no hands, how to hit a fastball not MLB fast, but fast enough and how to research anything, pre-computers. He has always worked to protect my heart, too. In my twenties our conversations usually started with me crying or talking too fast in an attempt to articulate how a guy “played” me and ended with my Dad using the term “knucklehead” in a comedic way and giving me a bear hug. I realized back then how blessed I am to have an active, hands-on father to share his input on anything that concerns me.
This Valentine’s Day I look forward to showing my Dad just how much I appreciate his love. He doesn’t know yet, but I have made plans for us. I will wrap his gifts in red decorative paper and we are going to laugh, eat, drink, have a competitive free-throw contest and even take a few selfies (he gets a kick out of those). As an adult, I understand how challenging it can be for all of us to find a romantic partner who will love unconditionally, but we all have someone like my Dad in our lives who has been on that job since day one. So, on February 14th show love to a person you know undoubtedly loves you—and will do so forever.