Making the Most of Valentine’s Day

Over the years, Valentine’s Day has brought a variety of experiences for me. In middle school, I received my first rose (a chocolate one) from a boy in my class. One year I received a dozen roses from a friend’s dog.  A few years later, my fiancé surprised me by sending daisies when we lived in separate states.  Yet, the Valentine’s Day gifts that stand out the most to me were not from a guy.

Every year on Valentine’s Day, my dad bought his girls (my mom, sister and I) each a flower. It was a tradition that I looked forward to every year. I knew I would receive a flower from my dad, no matter what drama was taking place in middle or high school. It reminded me that I was/am loved by my family no matter what.

During my freshman year of college, I struggled with my singleness. I had ended a relationship the past fall and was feeling particularly lonely when February rolled around. To my surprise, I received a bouquet of flowers. The card read,

Thought I’d better sneak in V-Day flowers cause next year you might be dating Mr. Vander-Right.  You are so beautiful. Be patient . . . seek God! Love ya!”

The bouquet was from my older sister, Carrie. I still keep the card. Carrie’s words (and thoughtfulness) have made me smile over a period of years rather than days.

As I reflect on past Valentine’s Days, I realize how much women crave reassurance that they are loved.  This contributes to the fact that stores selling flowers, cards and chocolates make such a bundle this time of year. However, I also realize that, at least in my situation, the gesture does not have to be romantic. I just needed to be reminded that I was loved by my dad and mom, my sister, and others around me.

Rather than spending a lonely Valentine’s Day watching chick flicks (bad idea!) or posting negative comments on Facebook—find a way to make it memorable. Whether or not you are in a relationship this year, take the time to remind someone you care. Here are some ideas:

  • Invite your roommate out to dinner
  • Show up on a friend’s doorstep with flowers
  • Make dinner for your brother who usually depends on the microwave for meals
  • Surprise your parents with an evening at home with them
  • Call a grandparent
  • Have a night just for the girls or guys
  • Send a handwritten note or card to someone far away

Although flowers will die and chocolate will disappear, the thought that you put into making someone else’s day will not. This year I will send flowers to a dear, single friend of mine just to remind her that she is loved. I think I’ll send them before February 14 so she is sure to start Valentine’s Day out with a smile. Perhaps she will be smiling long after the Valentine’s Day sales are over.


Amy VanSlocum grew up in rural Alaska 100 miles from the nearest stop light, McDonald's and movie theater. She has lived in Michigan, Montana, New York and has finally settled in northern Colorado. She graduated from Calvin College in 2008 with a degree in elementary education and earned her graduate degree in library science. Amy and her husband, Justin, embarked on their latest adventure, parenthood, in the summer of 2014. In their spare time, the VanSlocum family heads to the mountains to hike or ski.

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