They swirl so fast, these holidays of ours; funny, endearing and frustrating. Each one building on the last, forcing us to wonder about which was our favorite and how we can ever recreate it? They all matter though, even the shitty ones. They are all there to bring something to that doily decorated table.
Like the ones I spent alone cursing the holiday as a ploy created by Hallmark.
Or the ones where I was allowed a boy/ girl party in our humbly finished basement as I carefully hung an obscene amount of paper hearts from the ceiling . I clearly remember curling my besties hair and the feeling of pre-teen anticipation.
There were the my first ones. The ones where I’d read my cards over and over for hours, treasuring how I was so lucky to be so loved…..Knowing little about the class requirements of inclusion.
There were the obligatory ones, where I mentally muttered “shit I’d better stop and get a card.”
There were friend ones celebrated at a bar.
And Dinner date ones.
There was the one I knew would be my dog’s last.
There was That one crazy Florida, hospital one when Judah’s festive pink eye resulted in a trip to the ER and script for antibiotics.
I’m sure there were boring ones I don’t remember.
There were the ones for the kids. The ones that didn’t include French kisses or lingerie but may have included heart shaped French toast?
The truth is, my favorite was probably the hospital one. Not because it was awesome. In fact, it was awful. 24 hours in a car with 2 small fries, one sick. … And just as we were to arrive at our palm tree destination, the palm trees waved bye bye . It was sucky. But it was memorable, it made me grateful and I was with the ones I loved.
But the other ones did something too…..
Like how the ones I spent alone taught me that I am able to survive being alone.
And my boy/girl soirée taught me how to be a proper host.
My love for those little cards taught me how important it is to give them.
The obligatory and forgotten ones taught me how I cannot always compete with everyone else’s highlight reel ….because sometimes my insides just don’t match others outsides ( thank you author Anne Lamott)
The friend ones taught me a lot about being there for each other and the dinner ones taught me the important simplicity of a meal shared.
The kid ones have taught me to re-see holidays through their eyes bringing me back to the days of my first ones. Coming full circle the way that life seems to do.
And maybe one day I’ll have a really rough Valentine’s or Christmas or Flag day. And maybe one will be one of the best days of my life. Maybe a handful will be just like any other day?
But what is key is to get lost in the beauty and the hard and mundane in all the funny days we are given. Because with them we become more us than we were the day before. With them we carve rings in our tree. With them we gain wisdom and clarity and humor and sadness. With them we gain character that lets us tell stories to who ever will listen about our funny Valentines’.
With them we live wholly…. and that, is cause for recognition. So, here’s to a significant Valentine’s, no matter what it looks like.