This Valentine's Day, my kids woke up to find that I had decorated the table with heart-shaped confetti and bought heart-shaped donuts for breakfast. Both kids had a card, a small stuffed animal and a box of chocolates sitting at their places. My husband and I had cards for each other and everyone went off to school and work feeling like it was a special day.
Well, except for me. Like a lot of days, I started my day with a Facebook and Twitter feed full of irony and sarcasm, only now it was directed at Valentine's Day.
Valentine's Day is traditionally a holiday about romantic love. It's also a holiday for which a lot of companies have put a lot of effort in to making you think you need to spend money. This combination of romance, commerce and insecurity tends to make people grumpy. It tends to make people say things like, "I don't need Hallmark to tell me that I love you. I show you I love you every day."
But do you? Since I began writing about parties and weddings, I've come to realize why these events are so important. Yes, you could make any day your own personal Valentine's Day or Mother's Day. You also don't have to wait to celebrate someone on his birthday or think about your faith on a specific religious holiday. But, most of us need reminders. We live busy, hectic lives and we say things like "One day I'll" or "I'd love to..." a lot. We need excuses to stop and make some days special for ourselves and our families.
Instead though, some people seem to go out of their way to deny that anything is special or deserving of extra attention or expense. Every single wedding article I've ever written on Huffington Post has received comments that weddings are a waste of time and money and that anyone who wants to have a big party is selfish and greedy.
I understand where some of this anger comes from (see the above comment about companies making money off of the combination of romance and insecurity). Some of it also comes from the fact that many of us are surrounded by people who do not have any trouble trying to make every day special, for THEM! From brides who insist that no one get pregnant or married around their wedding date, to new parents who post every accomplishment on Facebook, the world is full of people who feel special enough already.
But it's also full of the rest of us. It's full of people who wish they let their spouses know how much they care every morning, but instead spend the time reminding each other of the day's logistics. It's full of parents who mean to say "I'm proud of you" on a regular basis but instead spend the time asking about homework.
I'm one of those people. So, if Hallmark wants to provide me with a reminder to stop and tell my family that I love them, I'm OK with that.