5 Things I’ll Tell My Children About Valentine’s Day

Dear children,

February 14th will always have a special meaning in this world. It had a meaning when I was a kid, and it still has a meaning when I grew up. I’m sure that it will be the same for you.

This global celebration of love, also known as Valentine’s day, has always been a bit of a pressure to me as a kid. You see, I was not the prettiest of the flock. I was short and chubby, and I had reddish hair like corn that made people think that I spent too much time flying kites outside. In my days, if we didn’t get an anonymous card or a box of chocolates, or even a single rose delivered by a secret admirer and laid on our desks for us to find when we arrive at school, we were deemed kind of undesirable. (This changed for me in high school, though. Because being in an all girl high school, no one got anything on Valentine’s day.) Until sometime in high school, someone sent a card to Grandma’s house, addressed to me for me to find when I came home from school. On it, he drew Fido Dido (okay, you might not know who he is, but google him and you’ll find that he was pretty hip back in the days!) with his arms stretched out, and a one liner: “I love you this much.”

I’m not going to lie to you kids, it was really the greatest feeling in the world. I don’t think I’ve ever been so gleeful in my whole entire teenage life. (I eventually found out who sent it, though. And let’s just say, I understood then why it was anonymous! It should have stayed that way, but whatever… it made me really happy.)

The year after that, I got worried again. What if no one sent me anything? I worried year after year, until I stopped caring. Until February 14th was a day like any other day. Thankfully, I found your Papa who didn’t care about global celebrations of love as well, which made us perfect for each other, because we never really did do major damages on our credit cards just to provide for each other’s extravagant gifts.

Moving on… (I hope I’m not sounding too bitter about this!) I realized that I only felt this pressure and had only negative feelings about Valentine’s day because I didn’t really understand what the day meant. I took the limited understanding I had of the people around me and created a definition that in turn made me judge myself, which was of course, no good.

So, I want to take this moment today to tell you some things I’ve learned about Valentine’s day:

Valentine’s day is a retail holiday. As a marketing person, I know that whatever moment that can be used to boost sales, must be used wisely and effectively. This global celebration of love is one of them. I hope you know that some people in South Korea and China will be doing some major spending and most probably putting a huge dent in their savings account due to massive shopping for Valentine’s gifts. Some people will eat up marketing gimmicks just like that. It’s great for the marketers, but if you’re a consumer – be wise. Don’t be fooled into buying things and paying extra for things you don’t really need just because of a momentum that other people created. (Oh my Lord, I am sounding really bitter about this, aren’t I? Wait, it gets better, I promise you.)

It’s okay to be alone on Valentine’s day. So what if you’re alone on Valentine’s day? Not going out to dinner? No problem. Buy yourself a gift if that’s what you want. When you love yourself, dear children, you will never be alone. Spending time with yourself and showing yourself some love are some of the things that people overlook in this modern and busy society. You’ll be doing yourself a favor! (Okay, now I sound overly optimistic. Trust me, it’s not bitterness that’s making me sound like this, ok?)

Being romantic should never be left for one day. If you can be romantic everyday, then by all means, be romantic everyday. But don’t forget, to be romantic is different for everyone. Like I told you before, define your own standards of “what is romantic” and do not adopt the world view on romance if it doesn’t suit you. I got the best Valentine’s gift from your dad last year. It only cost him $4 per month. Many people might say it’s too simple, yet for me, that was thoughtfully extravagant. See, romance is different for everyone.

You don’t need a global celebration to tell someone you love him/her. If you love someone, tell them every second, every minute, every hour, every day. Don’t wait for once a year when you can tell that special person along with the rest of the world about how they make you feel. It’s better to know about how someone feels about you through little gestures but often, rather than one grand gesture, once a year.

Valentine’s day should never make you feel unloved. If there’s nothing you want to remember about what I just told you about Valentine’s day, just remember this one point. Whether you want to participate in this global celebration or retail holiday or not, understand that this day should never, ever make you feel like you are unwanted, undesirable or unloved. You are my greatest blessings and the three most adorable beings to have ever graced the face of this earth and you are all wonderful. You are loved.

I’ve never really asked anyone to be my Valentine. But I’d be honored to have you three, and your Papa to be my Valentine’s this year… and next year… and the next year after that… until the day there will be no more Valentine’s day, just LOVE day, everyday!

With all my love,

Mama

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