There is a winery on Highway 46 between Cambria and Paso Robles, Ca. where the vines are cut around a cluster of heart-shaped trees and every time I drive by I’m reminded of how I never particularly cared for Valentine’s Day.
There was one joy-filled Valentine’s Day was when I was 4 and my sister and I had chickenpox. We spent the day with construction paper, doilies, glitter and glue. I was too young to worry about what if no one in class gave me a valentine. (That never happened but I worried about it anyway.) Thank goodness by the time my son was in school, kids were required to give a valentine to everyone in the class so he was spared that angst.
When I was seventeen, a boy sent me a heart-shaped Candy-gram with a line from a Rod Stewart lyric. I live with that man now, and when I remind him of his sweet gesture 46 years ago, he says “Valentines Day is for teenagers.”
For the 32 years I was married (to someone else) my husband said “Valentines day is silly and it shouldn’t matter to you because I bring you flowers often for no reason.”
There was one man I could always count on to send me a handwritten valentine message every year. He always signed it “Love, dear old Dad.”
Dad passed when I was 49 and I missed his annual love letter. Then one year, two 50- something girlfriends invited women friends to a Valentines Day Tea and celebration of friendship. It was lovely and I began thinking of the day as a time to honor everyone we love, not a time to feel disappointment because my boyfriend or husband lacked romance.
It’s taken a long while but I’m finally learning to embrace that most important self-love.
During the past several months, I’ve put my mother’s needs first and neglected my own. I’m noticing that I get grouchy when I don’t get out in nature or take time to make art. It takes diligence to, as my son always quotes that pre-flight announcement, “secure your own oxygen mask first before helping others.”
So on this day that’s all about love, I ask you, are you loving yourself enough to give yourself the gift of time to do what you love? Whether that means giving yourself time every day to make art or play music or dance, what can you do for yourself today that brings you as much joy as those two little chicken-pox covered girls making hearts with lace doilies, glitter and glue?
How are you showing yourself love today?
PS If you dream of teaching what you love or organizing creative retreats or workshops, join us for the Inspiring Teachers Course to learn how you can share your gift of creativity with others.