Valentine's Day used to break my heart.
I let it become a glaring reminder of all I didn't have - and nobody was going to tell me otherwise.
I wasn't angry. I didn't wear black as a statement, I just wore it because, I like clothes that are black. (It matches my hair.)
This Valentine's is admittedly a little special. It's my ENGAGED Valentine's Day! We're going out to dinner, and he bought me roses, and I just want to hug everyone today. If my fiancé reads this, he's going to roll his eyes. He thinks it's cheesy when I say it's our "engaged anything". But, I think it's fun.
Usually our little exchange goes something like this - I say "Happy Engaged ______!" He rolls his eyes. I tell him to stop rolling his eyes and be romantic. Then he gives me some snarky answer, and smiles. Then we laugh. Perhaps that's one of the million reasons why it works. Balance.
And just a quick side note to my single friends - it's OK to wait for the kind of love you've dreamt of al your life. The kind that gives you butterflies, sees the beauty in your flaws, and celebrates you for the wonder you are. It is out there. Maybe at this moment in your life it seems like a fantasy, but it's there. I promise.
Now, that's enough of the newly engaged schmaltz.
I wanted to put words out there for you, the reader who's just sad.
The reader who just wants February 15th to come real bad.
I get it, I do.
I've been there.
But here's the thing - the sadness of Valentine's Day, for me, started to fade when I thought about the love I did have.
See, for the past three years, I produced and directed a concert series called LOVE SONGS for V-Day. I curated an evening of Broadway love songs, and gave a portion of the proceeds to The V-Day Foundation.
But, it wasn't just romantic love songs - because romantic love is just one kind of love. But then there's love between parent and child, love between friends, love between siblings, love for self.
And it's when I thought about that, Valentine's Day didn't seem so painful after all.
I thought of how my Dad often gives me flowers on Valentine's Day. And it was never because he felt bad for me cause I was single - it's cause he loves me. It's cause I'm his only daughter, and that's something worth celebrating.
It thought of how my Mom would always have her students write Valentine's Day letters to one another - not because she was playing matchmaker, but because love of friends and classmates is a beautiful thing to foster, to nourish, to cultivate.
I thought of my friend Hannah, who created The World Needs More Love Letters, not to mail romance letters around the world, but to mail words of hope and heart and healing for those who need it in their darkest moments.
Look at the love that surrounds you this Valentine's Day - whether it's between you and your child, you and your partner, you and your family, and/or you and your parents, and recognize that love of community and family and friends is truly one of life's greatest gifts.
And, last but not least, I hope you look inward and that you take care of your heart. I hope you look in the mirror and love what you see. I hope you learn how to love you, for all your wonder and all your flaws.
And I hope you hear me when I say that that's a love worth celebrating. Always.