So far, it's a roughly 70/30 split on staying home to cook Valentine's Day dinner and avoiding the day as much as possible. Interesting that no one is planning to go out or get take-out. As such, it seems the day offers another night to cook at home and nourish ourselves, partnered or alone. However you spend your evening, I hope it is a happy one. I, myself, have always been an immensely enthusiastic fan of Heart Day. My sister and I used to cut out seemingly hundreds of hearts and hang them from the ceilings in our house to surprise our parents when they woke up on the 14th. My Dad never failed (and continues to this day) to send my mom roses, delivered to our door which I always thought was so lovely and extravagant when he could have just as easily brought them home after work. He always thought of it in advance. We all made each other cards and still do, and true to form, my mom mailed us a Valentine's package last week which we've already received. The kids got darling plates with hearts all over them and their first SweetHearts candies, the messages on which seem to have gotten a little racier over the years -wow!
For as long as I can remember, I've also been making heart shaped goodies throughout V-Day: pancakes for breakfast, cookie-cuttered sandwiches for the boys' lunch, and all manner of desserts to follow dinner. As such, I've collected a real variety of heart shaped cooking pans and molds over the years, and enjoy deploying them every 2/14. And even though Tom loathes glitter -he agrees with a comment I heard and dissolved over: "Glitter is the Herpes of the crafting world"- I will tell you that I gleefully glittered his name on the Valentine I made him this year, so he'll just have to put aside his disdain for a day.
This spirit for San Valentino must come from the well of romanticism that has always been deep in my core, my Italian roots -amore!- as well as watching the chivalrous ways my Dad has always treated Mom. He still opens the car door for her, pulls out her chair at any table and slides it back in once she's comfortably seated, holds her coat as she dons it, buys her pretty jewelry even though she doesn't need it. It's very dear and has very surely influenced the ways in which I'm raising my sons. I think ahead about the kind of men I hope they will be, the ways they'll treat their partners, children (if I'm lucky), friends. I try to make love easy to show, easy to share and easy to see why doing both is so valuable.
Love is not just romantic, although that's a supremely lovely manifestation of it. To look at others -people, situations, etc- with love has the power to soften edges that sometimes arise due to differing opinions, private struggles which affect public behavior, communication that has broken down, beefs from the past. Just think about how much nicer everyone in Congress was for about 5 minutes during the State of the Union when Gabby Giffords was front and center. Incredible. For me, I think, Valentine's Day has always seemed an excuse to be even more unabashedly open about love and the aspects of it that are so grand. My home will definitely be hearted up to the max next Tuesday, and hopefully my family -so many freaking men over here- will look at it all with love and throw me a bone for the day. :)