Today is Valentine's Day! A highly commercialized, dreadful and girly holiday for all. When I was single, I would often receive care packages from my BFF and these packages would always be fancier when she was in a relationship and I wasn't. Even with my BFF's packages and sweet cards reminding me that Mr. Right was out there and this was a day to express love even between friends, there was always a streak of self pity within me every single Valentine's Day.
So much so that in 2008, I bought myself an i-pod with the card inscription of, "Happy Valentine's Daisy. Don't forget, I am your most important relationship! Love, Me." I kept this card for some time... and it wasn't until I had indeed developed an even more important relationship with my Heavenly Father that I was able to discard the reminder of my own pity party for one disguised as declaration of my independence and self worth.
So often, many of us (myself included) are confused about what love really is because of what the media makes it out to be...the butterflies in your stomach that never disappear, the ongoing drama, the OOMF, the *sighs and the heart beating, adrenaline rushing, heel popping oh my goodness feelings! But very scarcely do we get insight into the couple who have their ups and downs and work through it, who express their love everyday, not only on momentous anniversaries and holidays. Very scarcely, are the true love of simple acts of everyday affection, patience, forgiveness, communication and support ever portrayed. I am grateful that I feel closer to what I believe love really is now, that though I always had snippets of it through my own unaffectionate family who never gave hugs but always loved one another through their actions, I now have an even better example through my husband.
Tonight, I came home to a projected image on our television of us and a sweet poem underneath it. I then turned around to surprise Andy with my gift - a bag of shortbread cookies coated with pink icing and speckled with red m&ms in the bag from Panera, a leftover from my lunch on the Firm. He smiled with gratitude, and I wondered if there was any disappointment, but if there was, there was no indication of such. He gave me a sweet hug to express his appreciation and I thought, I cannot wait until he gets his real present! I had no intention of getting him anything for Valentine's, in fact, I had reiterated this a ton of times with "we are NOT getting each other Valentine's gifts!" over and over. But then last week, a friend had sent me a link for a "You Got Jimmered" shirt and I could not resist. What better excuse than Valentine's to make a spontaneous purchase you know your husband will absolutely love?! So buy I did! When I gave him his real present 10 minutes later, he was elated with joy! Success was mine!
Then, for Family Home evening ("FHE"), Andy read me a short snippet of one of President Hinckley's talks recalling the story of a couple and how they were a couple nobody expected based on material judgments (he was poor, she was affluent, he was good looking, she was mediocre) who worked through challenging years to support themselves, raise their children, have a happy family, endure and ultimately, enjoyed their love for one another throughout time. I then jokingly said to him, "but Andy, love is getting chocolates, love is getting a bouquet of beautiful flowers! Love is also getting a big fluffy stuffed animal. And don't forget, love is jewelry from Jared's or Kay's.... love is spending a lot of money on me!" And then I just waited for his response. "If that is what love is, then I guess I don't love you at all!" he exclaimed. Shucks....
But indeed, I have the greatest love of all. And, on top of that, I have Andy too.
Love is a smile, a laugh, a hug. Love is joy, trust, laughter, loyalty, happiness, understanding, patience, humility, faith, hope, help and action. Love is the greatest commandment and even if it's one fake holiday made to generate some revenue, Valentine's Day does remind us of that.
Happy Valentine's Day - a day of LOVEEEEEE