Will You Be My Valentine?

download     Recently, my parents started cleaning out their basement. As a result, I received a few bags of what I will call “stuff.” In one of those bags, I found all sorts of treasures. No, nothing that would make me rich monetarily. However, they will provide a wealth of blog article topics.
     Appropriate for this time of year, I discovered stacks of Valentine’s Day cards. You know—the kind you trade as kids. They were from Kindergarten through 4th grade.20160208_104652
     And before you think this should be the beginning of a hoarding article, we are not hoarders. We are pack rats. There is a big difference. And our stuff fit neatly in the basement.
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     As I reflected on these tokens of friendship, I read the names on the back of each card. I tried to remember all of those friends. Some were from school or Brownies. Others were from my neighborhood.
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     I laughed at how the handwriting improved over the years too. Barely legible Kindergarten scrawl to 4th grade cursive writing. Thank you, Sister Mary Carmel, for teaching us to write in cursive.
     Sister Mary Carmel wore the complete habit. I clearly remember one June day when the boys were rolling up their long-sleeved shirts, due to the heat.
     Sister said, “If I can be dressed this way and tolerate the heat, so can you. Roll down those sleeves.”
     Amid theatrics and heavy sighs, all of the boys rolled down their sleeves.
     Okay, back to the Valentine’s Day cards. The girls tended to decorate the envelopes with hearts and smiling faces. The boys just stuck to names, plain and simple. I was amazed that there were not many duplicate card designs in a single year. Obviously, there were a couple. But overall, each card was unique.
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     One of my favorites was a paper doll that you cut out and dressed in paper clothes. Hey, don’t judge me. It was the 1970s. Times were simpler then.
     In addition to the discipline and guilt taught in Catholic grammar school, we were also taught the importance of including everyone, so no one was left out. During the year, some of the kids teased me and called me, “nerd” or “teacher’s pet.” However, I still received a Valentine from each and every one of those kids. At the end of the day, we were all still friends.
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     Once we entered our dating years, Valentine’s Day became less about friends, and more about the subjects of our romantic affection. Naturally.
     Fast forward to present day. Primarily, adults buy things for their significant others and their kids. Which reminds me—Thank you, Mom and Dad, for the Valentine’s Day card. I just got it in the mail. It’s very pretty. And I love you, too.
     The question I pose is this: Why don’t we acknowledge our friends on Valentine’s Day anymore?
     We have ample capacity to love our significant others, parents and children as well as our friends. So, why not share the love with our friends?
     We can partially blame advertisers who bombard us with ads urging us to buy gifts for our significant others. I have not seen a single ad telling me to buy Valentine’s Day gifts for my friends.
     Many unattached people dread Valentine’s Day. All of the fanfare and hoopla are huge “in your face” reminders of their single status. As if single people need a reminder. We do not need reminders, people. We know.
     Some lonely hearts resort to throwing anti-Valentine’s Day parties. I’ve seen invitations that declare, “Love Sucks,” “Love Bites,” and “Love Stinks, Let’s Drink.”
     Well, in my opinion, those parties just create a lot of negative energy. So, that’s not for me. Instead, I look forward to February 15th, when chocolate is half-price.

     What I am challenging you to do this year is to remember your friends on Valentine’s Day.

     I am not saying you have to run out and buy everyone flowers, candy or a card. Although those would be nice, and I would never turn them down. But a simple text, phone call or shout out on Facebook could really brighten someone’s day.

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     Be a good friend this Valentine’s Day, and share the love!

Copyright © 2016 by Suzanne Purewal