My husband kissed me goodbye and left the house early this morning for a dentist appointment. By the time I stumbled into the kitchen, it was already there on the counter waiting for me. The bright red envelope set off the alarm that reminded me that it was Valentine’s Day.
Jews are not supposed to celebrate Valentine’s Day because it’s meant to honor a Christian saint who performed forbidden marriages for lovers. But, as is prone to happen, the day evolved to recognizing courtly love and then to expressing romantic love. And today, even we Jews are suckered into joining the frenzy. If a loved one isn’t treated to cards, flowers, sweets, fine dining, or some bling on this day…watch out!
So, with all of this in mind, I found myself looking through Valentine’s Day cards on my way home from work. Since I struck out at Target, I hoped I’d have better luck at CVS. I carefully explored the various categories – Humorous, Religious, Romantic, Husband – but, again, none contained the right one. I couldn’t find one that even came close to capturing my thoughts and feelings. Maybe after seven years of dating and almost thirty years of marriage it’s all been said. Damn, I thought, I show him that I love him every-freaking-day so why do I have to underscore it today?!
Then, a dark-haired girl appeared next to me in the aisle. I tried to be inconspicuous as I sized her up and observed her reactions to the cards she chose to read. She giggled softly, bit her lip occasionally, texted someone, or rolled her eyes. It wasn’t hard to figure out that she was a soccer player (the shin guards gave her away), a high school sophomore or junior, and was buying a card for a boyfriend.
I left the store without a card, remembering that I too was a high-school-girl-in-love once…
Love, is that you
That fills my ears, that fills my nose, that fills my heart?
Love, is that you
That fills the air, that fills the sky?
Love, is that you? Speak up, speak up. Don’t be so shy.
I love many things I have. I love many things I do. I love many people I know. But, I’ve only fallen in love once and I remember it well…
Being in love with someone is about being open to and willing to embrace new discoveries. It’s about learning the various sounds of his voice; first thing in the morning, late in the day, in a whisper, when it’s hoarse, when it booms. It’s about deciphering his scents when he sneezes or sleeps or sweats. It’s about watching how his hands and fingers move as he writes, hammers, or holds your hand. It’s about understanding how his body moves when he dances, plays ball, or strolls toward you. It’s about seeing how he treats babies and puppies. It’s about recognizing how full your heart feels each day as you share life experiences – the new, the old, the mundane, the profound, the easy, or the challenging – with him by your side.
Being in love with someone is about letting go of fears and being willing to try new things. It’s about taking chances and embracing new possibilities. It’s about putting him first without losing yourself in the process. It’s about trusting him and knowing that he won’t hurt you. It’s about letting him help you become an even better you. It’s about using your own voice to share your dreams, thoughts, and feelings while being willing to accommodate his too.
Being in love with someone is about knowing that it might be “just for now,” but – with mutual understanding, desire, and commitment – could evolve into a true, deep love that lasts “forever.”
Happy Valentine’s Day, Honey. I’m sorry I didn’t buy a card.