Happy Valentine's Day

HEARTI just love Valentine's Day. Sure, it's a bit of a manufactured holiday. All that card, candy, and flower buying comes just long enough after we've recovered from holiday gift-giving credit card shock. And for those who don't have a "sweetheart", all the ad campaigns can leave one feeling lonely or jaded. I spent Valentine's Day at my son's school yesterday. A cadre of teachers and parents worked together to create a simple, fun celebration. Many talented moms led craft stations. A rousing game of "Who Do You Love" (like musical chairs) entertained boys and girls alike. Healthy snacks fortified the kids in between activities.

The highlight of the party was the Valentine exchange. Some kids exchanged little mass-market greetings. Others dropped candy in each others' bags. There were pencils, little rubber toys, and homemade greetings. The kids were scrambling to put their little tokens of friendship into each others' bags. The Valentine celebration was about the community, the comradery of classmates, and the appreciation of one friend for another.

That's why I love Valentine's Day. I love my friends and family, but I don't always think to tell them. Valentine's Day acts like a big appreciation alarm clock. It wakes us up to say to those near and dear to us, "Hey! You're great! I'm really glad you're in my life!" And I just love that heart-shaped box of chocolates. With the gooey centers please.