Valentine's Day. It's a funny kind of day in that most people give it a 'meh' response, while others are all over it like a red loved-heart-shaped rash, and some frown at it like they've stepped in dog poop.
I'm actually a bit in love with it! Not in the big bear and roses kind of way, though.
You see, the thing about Valentine's Day is that people are saying it wrong, it's SAINT Valentine's Day. It actually means something and though the meaning is based on a legendary tale that may have been embellished and muddled along the way, the guts of it, is why I love it.
Many moons ago, Roman soldiers were forbidden to marry - the emperor felt it clashed with their army commitments. A priest named Valentine ignored this ruling and performed marriages in secret instead. He believed in love and the right to declare it. But he was then caught and sentenced to a nasty death. While waiting his fate, legend has it that he healed the jailers blind daughter. On the day of his death, she found a note in his empty cell, addressed to her and signed 'Your Valentine'.
St. Valentine's Day is about declarations of love. It's about having faith in love, even in our darkest hours. I don't buy gifts on St. Valentine's Day, but I remind my husband every year what it's about - fifteen years of cards and he's still foggy on the day's details!
But, this St. Valentine's Day, however you have approached it previously, take this knowledge with you. Teach your kids that the day is about the sacrifices we make for love. The things we give up. The risks we take for what we believe in.
As parents, we make sacrifices every single day - our love softens the blow. Would we change it? Not a chance.
When you see the roses and chocolates and diamonds this year, look at them as today's version of offerings. Which are fine, but the kindest offering we can give anyone, in particular the people we love, is our time. And even if we feel we don't have that, some of our best memories can appear as the fleeting moments were we've said - in what ever form - 'I love you'.
Happy Saint Valentine's Day.
Deborah O'Ferry is a mother of two. She attempts community work by day and staying calm by night, as she trips about in the crazy and beautiful world of parenting. Writing is her way of staying sane and she hopes to reach other tired parents by being honest about her own not-always-successful experiences and try to level out the ideas of perfect parenting to just trying to be good people. You can follow Deborah at Deborah O'Ferry on Facebook.
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