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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines! I’ve said it before, but how can you not love a holiday that is about love? Paul and I do not celebrate Valentines together in the traditional way on February 14. I celebrate it, and he tolerates me. Homemade decorations and home-baked, fancy cupcakes show that the holiday is around the corner. I have construction paper hearts hanging on invisible fishing line from the light fixture in the eating area. I have all the valentine artwork that Madi made in preschool hanging up. I have red and pink tea towels hanging on the handle of the oven door.

For all that, the only conversation Paul and I have about Valentines is a panicky two sentence exchange, “We’re not doing anything for Valentines, are we?“ “Not even a card, right?“ And it works for us.

Our first Valentines together, I had high expectations, I will admit. Several days before the actual day, Paul told me the story of the time when he was the new kid at school, and he did not get a single Valentine in his homemade “mailbox.“ I was horrified at the injustice, so I bought a box of kiddo valentines, and I put them all over the house. When he went to get his cereal box for breakfast, there was a card taped to the box. When he went to brush his teeth, there was a card on the bathroom mirror. When he went to put on his socks, well, you get the idea. All day long this went on.

Although I had probably given him 20 valentines cards throughout the day, there didn’t seem to be any reciprocity. Then came his request to “buy“ one of my Valentines. The sheer nerve (or idiocy - I’m still not sure which it is) was overwhelming. It might not have been funny at the time, but we’ve laughed about it since, for over the 30 years of Valentine’s Days that we’ve spent together.

Over the years this holiday has morphed for me into something less about romantic love more about love in general.

My next-door neighbor has a sign in her yard that says:

In this house, we believe

Black Lives Matter

Please Stop Asian hate

Women’s rights = Human rights

No human is illegal

Embrace the science

Love is love

I was out in my driveway one day when someone I vaguely knew stopped by. We were talking about how many political signs people had up in their yards. A very neutral conversation, and then he looked over at that sign and said “I would, for sure, never have a sign like that in my yard.“

And here’s the rub. I immediately got a little judgy with this guy, thinking what a piece of work. Then I realized that if I’m true to the commandment, Love Thy Neighbor, I don’t have to love what he stands for or believes, but I am supposed to love him. And just like that, all the wind was knocked out of my sails, and I was back to square one.

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