I absolutely love Valentines’s Day. Now, before you start writing in to tell me that it is a purely commercial holiday, one that was intensified if not actually created by the card and candy industry, let me explain that my family has a slightly different take on the day. For us it is less about romantic love (although we acknowledge that as well) and more about love in general; a day to celebrate everyone that we love be they friend, family, human, animal, book, character, food, or anything else that makes us fill up with love and happiness. For us it’s a day to celebrate the fact that love, in all its many forms, is at the center of our lives.
I sometimes bemoan the fact that Valentine’s Day has become so focused on romantic love, as it leaves those without current partners feeling sad and left out or grumpy and bah humbuggy. Whereas a day to celebrate everyone and everything that we love includes everyone and everything, makes a place at the party for everyone who wants to attend. Everyone has someone or something that they love, be it a partner, a parent, a child, teacher, a pet, or even a book or a poem, or even a chocolate cake that they made last Thursday and OMG it was so good! All of these loves are worth celebrating.
My favorite Aunt, my beloved Aunt Eva, loved Valentine’s Day, and made it the official family holiday. She surrounded herself with pink and red, and loved anything with hearts on it. An art gallery owner, she gave me a poster of Jim Dine’s Hearts as a housewarming present back when I got my first apartment on my own at age 20. It’s hung on the wall of every house and apartment I have had since.
She signed every letter (and she was a great and prolific letter writer) with her mantra: “Valentine’s Day every day!” which to her meant spend each day celebrating who and what you love, and living in gratitude for all the love and wonderfulness that the world has to offer.
So I think of her a lot on Valentine’s Day. She was an amazing and brilliant person who lived an amazing life, worthy of an entire blog post of her own some day. I have thousands of wonderful memories of her that I’ll write about soon, but for today I will just stick to her main philosophy: Valentines Day every day!
We have always taken her advice to heart, and even 5 years after she died at the delightfully old age of 97 (in March – she would never have left us before celebrating one last Valentines Day), we still celebrate with great excitement every year – we hand make cards for each other, we have a celebratory dinner for which we have been known to make not only heart shaped cakes and cookies, but on occasion a heart shaped Sicilian meatloaf as well. We not only have 3 generations of our family that attend, but we also invite extended family and friends, so that we can celebrate how much we all love each other. We decorate with banners and swags made from hearts, we sprinkle heart shaped sequins on my grandmothers white damask table cloth, a way to have her with us as well. We sing songs about love loudly and with laughter (one of our closest extended family members was a Broadway performer for years, and has a glorious and large tenor voice so singing is a must). We buy napkins with hearts, and use heart shaped serving dishes or beautiful flowered bits and pieces from generations past. We talk about those we love who can no longer celebrate with us, and remember them with poems and stories. We invite the animals and sometimes decorate their collars with hearts and flowers, and serve them special treats for dinner in special dishes.
Love is what matters, be it between parent and child, husband and wife (or wife and wife, or husband and husband), friends, pets and their people, work colleagues, designers and those making their patterns, teachers and students – wherever and whenever love shows up it is to be appreciated, acknowledged, and most of all celebrated. To paraphrase the old song: love makes my world go round.So thank you to all of those I love for being in my life. I feel so lucky to have so many people to love, and I share this day with you. Thank you to those who buy my patterns or take my classes, because your doing so allows me to work at this business that I love, another type of love to acknowledge and be grateful for.
So thank you all for your presence in my life. Now let’s have a party!!
Tell me about who or what you love below in the comments, or via email (just hit reply on my newsletter. Not subscribed yet? Click here). I’ll randomly choose one response to win a free pattern of their choice in a week as a Valentine.
Happy Valentine’s Day, happy knitting, and XOXO,