Jooge had her first ever Valentine Party at school yesterday. Everyone sat in a circle on the rug, their valentine envelope in their laps. Her teacher taught them to say, "Thanks" to each person after she opened their valentine. (I read the names so she knew). Witnessing her party reminded me of how it all starts out. When you're young and getting all that love in the form of little peices of paper, stickers, and treats, it's enough.
I hope my girls will learn the secret of recapturing that warm and fuzzy envelope of love by doing things for themselves on Valentines Day (or any day for that matter). If they are the kind of girls that appreciate apple blossoms instead of roses, I hope they will learn to buy them for themselves. And maybe, just maybe they will find Valentines in the uncommon and ordinary, like Naomi Shihab Nye writes about in her poem Valentine for Earnest Mann:
Once I knew a man who gave his wife
two skunks for a valentine.
He couldn't understand why she was crying.
"I thought they had such beautiful eyes."
And he was serious.
He was a serious man
who lived in a serious way.
Nothing was ugly
just because the world said so.
He really liked those skunks.
So, he reinvented them
as valentines and they became beautiful.
At least, to him.
And the poems that had been hiding
in the eyes of the skunks for centuries
crawled out and curled up at his feet.
Maybe if we reinvent whatever our lives give us
we find poems. Check your garage, the odd sock
in your drawer, the person you almost like, but not quite.
And let me know.
Look around folks and may the Valentines hiding everywhere (but in the local Hallmark!) find YOU!