I love my children, although they are not children anymore. They are 20-somethings, post-college and graduate school -- well, two out of three, anyway. Yet despite their advancing age (and mine, too), when the holidays roll around, we slip into the fond memory of all living under one roof and joyously celebrating each seasonal occasion, hallmark holiday, birthday and, of course, Valentine's Day with lots of fanfare. I always decorated the kitchen with streamers and banners and wrapped gifts with red and white heart paper and filled pretty bags with chocolate kisses, conversation hearts (one of my daughter's favorites) and candy. Lots of candy.
But this year I decided unilaterally (I am, after all, still the mother) to not give candy. No wrapped chocolate hearts, no fructose or corn syrup. I decided to show my love by giving lovely wrapped vitamins and minerals, probiotics, and superfoods! As a health and wellness advocate, I felt this was my authentic gift on this holiday of love. And let's face it, who do we love more than our children?
I also created handmade note cards out of reddish-orange collages I had painted. The joy of wrapping up these little one-of-a-kind Valentines with pretty paper and bows gives the holiday its old time spirit. Breaking a family tradition is not so easy but when lovingly substituted with other real and wholehearted actions, the sincerity can be embraced by all. Sometimes habits or old rituals just don't make sense anymore. We can all make way for new experiences while honoring the importance even little candy hearts once played in a holiday celebration.
Perhaps next Valentine's Day the kids will be ready to go with me on that family meditation and yoga retreat!