A Celebration of Love and Gratitude This Valentine’s Day Here on the Suncoast
I was one of those people that hated Valentine’s Day when I was younger, especially when I didn’t have a boyfriend or partner. I would jump on the hater’s bandwagon in school and my friend groups. Luckily, when I was in my early twenties, I had an older friend chastise me during one of my rants about this terrible holiday. She told me I was looking at it all wrong, and she wanted me to consider something before I uttered another word. Instead of it being a downer for not having a relationship, think about those you love, the gratitude you have for the romances you have experienced, and those still to come. This is a holiday marked with bright colors, as it should be a day to commemorate the positive and quit looking at the negative.
After that initial feedback on this holiday, I changed my outlook totally. Now, I focus on the amazing relationships that have provided me with the best life possible. My kiddos that I got crafts from each Valentine’s Day with the most unique hearts all through their school years. The joy in seeing them grow year after year until I added a grandbaby in 2022. I expect to be seeing other amazing crafts as my grandbaby Juniper grows. I have amazing friends that I try to appreciate with words and actions as often as possible. While my family might be complicated on the best of days, I still can call my mom when I need to hear her voice – something not everyone has.
Yes, I have had a few amazing relationships in my lifetime and a partner that might try my patience, and I might do the same to him. In the end, my life though would not look the same without him in it. Valentine’s Day might not be all hearts, flowers, and sunshine, but it is always a holiday filled with gratitude. Joy for those who have made my story unique, complicated, joyful, and never boring for even a second. Today, I think we change the narrative on this holiday.
Close your eyes, and then recite the word love aloud. Who was the first picture that materialized in your mind? Grandparents, friends, kids, cousins, parents, or some other person? We all have been granted the amazing aptitude to love. This is the gift that Valentine’s Day celebrates once each year. We can build connections as long as we draw air and continue navigating the most amazing, painful, adventure-filled stories with people we love. So today, I think we face the holiday with a big ole grin, and gratitude in our hearts for every last love story we have been granted in this life. Do not focus on what might be missing in your world this year, but count the many love stories you have been gifted in this life.
Go do some goofy crafts with your kids or grandkids. Call that friend that you might not always talk to, but is there when you need them. Hug the parents who sacrificed so much to give you the life you do have. The sponsor that got you out of the darkest hours of your life. The pastor who renewed faith and love in mankind. The partner that makes you believe every day that true love is possible. And most of all, look yourself in the mirror and realize the biggest love story of your life was you – and you alone chose the connections that define you and make this holiday worth celebrating.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Suncoast!
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