A Letter to My Daughter About Valentine's Day

Dear Daughter, 

You are one-and-a-half years old and ultra independent, yet full of cuddles and kisses. You are kind and caring, making sure to give your stuffed animals a sip of your drink after you take one or running to hug or kiss me in the middle of playtime.

Growing up, I looked forward to going with my mom to the store to purchase tear-away cards to give my classmates on Valentine’s Day. I was always so excited when there were a some left over that I could surprise my brothers, parents, and grandparents with. As the years went by, those tear-apart cards were forgotten, and my romantic pursuits became my main interest.

You are years away from school-time Valentine's cards, dinner dates with potential suitors, lonely evenings at home while friends post pictures on social media of their expensive adventures, or quiet evenings at home with a spouse.

I want Valentine’s Day to always be something you look forward to, but I also want you to understand it in the way I do now, so it doesn’t become this huge heavy holiday, or the only day of the year when you feel you can truly express your love. No matter what I say, you’ll learn and grow and figure this out on your own, but I hope you consider these five lessons I’ve discovered along my own route.

1. How to Identify Love

Don’t be fooled into thinking that love shows itself with flowers, chocolates, or expensive evening meals out on the town. Presents and outward displays of affection are nice, but pay attention to your partner’s actions all year round and not on one singular holiday.

2. It’s Okay to Show Love

You’re so full of love right now, and I hope you stay that way. I’ve always been overflowing with love, and I know that it’s made people feel uncomfortable at times or made them second guess my intentions. Because of that, I’ve tried to put a lid on my excitement or mute my affections. This is important. It is never okay to dull your own sparkle to make things easier for someone else—especially when you’re showing your love. 

3. There’s No Right Way to Celebrate

Whenever I hear that there is a “correct” (albeit consumer-driven) way to celebrate life events, such as getting dolled up for a night out of dinner and drinks, I try to do a little research. No one knows the real history of Valentine’s Day. So it’s fine for you to celebrate in any way you want to. If that means staying at home reading a good book, dinner with friends, or a comedy show with your spouse, don’t let anyone else’s expectations dictate your own.

4. Keep Your Chin Up

You’re only going to listen to my advice so much because I’m your mom, which means that I obviously don’t know as much as you do. (Oh, girl...you’ll see.) If there’s anything you learn, know this:

It doesn’t matter if your heart gets broken on or before Valentine’s Day or if you’re overlooked by the only person you can’t stop looking at. You don’t need anyone to make you feel special or whole. You are enough. You always have been, and you always will.

5. Celebrate Yourself and Others

Your valentine doesn’t need to be a romantic partner. Be your own valentine, be your friends’, or your family’s. You don’t need a man or a woman to honor the love in your heart. Don’t get depressed if you’re alone while everyone else seems to be partnered up, but even more important than that, don’t buy into the consumer mumbo jumbo. Every day is Valentine’s Day. Live your life so that every day is spent celebrating the love in your heart. 

With all my love,