Valentine’s Day–my least favorite of all the holidays, even behind President’s Day and all of those other non-holiday holidays. I have never liked the day. Maybe because of all the colors in the world pink has always been my least favorite, with purple and red tying for second. Being bombarded by red valentine hearts, flying cupids, hot pink lip-shaped pillows, and gigantic overstuffed teddy bears when I walk into every store around this dreaded day always makes me want to u-turn and run back to my car. It is not that I dislike it because I have always been bitter and alone on the day specifically dedicated to showering the one you love with predictably romantic gifts. I actually don’t think there has ever been a Valentine’s that I have been single. Yet I still hate the holiday and all the mush that goes along with it. I guess because the whole idea of it and all of the gifts given on that day seem so superficial to me.
With that said, there are some Valentine’s gifts I’ve received over the years that I truly cherish. The year after I got mad at my husband for giving me the generic gift of a dozen roses on Valentine’s Day he brought home a framed painting of a single rose. Since it was a rose that would never die, he said, I could have it always as a reminder of his love for me. The purple hand print heart tile and pink and red thumbprint heart votive holder the boys made are safely tucked away all year until February 1 when I eagerly pull them out for display on the kitchen counter. And this year I add to this short but special list of memorable Valentine keepsakes the gift I received yesterday when I picked my 4-year-old up from preschool. There, in his cubby sitting next to his Thomas the Train backpack, was a picture this little man all dressed up. It looked as if his wife had stopped him to take a quick snapshot before he headed off to a long day at the office. Wearing man-sized slacks with his hands tucked into his pockets, a crisp white button-down shirt, oversized shoes, red suspenders, newsboy cap, giant tie, and a sheepish grin, he made me smile from ear to ear and made my heart ache all at once. I can’t think of a more perfect Valentine’s gift from my littlest little man.