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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Day of St. Valentine

It's that time of year again, so last night I made my annual last minute run to pick up Valentines for my daughter's class party. Valentine's Day, in general, is a nuisance to me. For one, I've been divorced for eight years and always seem to find myself single on this day. Secondly, even when I haven't been single it wasn't that great (there's a reason I'm divorced...). Third, somewhere along the way I jumped on the whole "this is nothing but commercialized crap day" train. And fourth, the annual last minute run for Valentines somehow has the same feel as that irritating but necessary chore. Fortunately, as I came home with my daughter, my mood shifted as I watched her dive into the box of Super Hero Valentine Cards.

I was standing in the kitchen getting dinner ready when she walked in holding a card with The Invisible Woman on the front -- of course, looking strong, powerful, and beautiful. She then explained to me that her friend Mary doesn't like overly girly things. For this reason she planned to give Mary one of the super hero cards and asked for my advice. I looked over the card and looked at my daughter saying, "Absolutely, I would do the same thing." She smiled with confidence and sauntered back into the living room.

A few moments later she came back with The Incredible Hulk in her hand. She said to me, "You see this card? This one's going to Jason."
"It is, hm? Why?"
"Well, the way I see it, the hulk runs around crazy all the time, and that's Jason, he runs around crazy all the time. So, no offense to Jason, but he's the hulk."
She turned and walked away, and I couldn't help but laugh.

A bit more time passed and I poked my head into the living room to see her. She stopped writing and picked up another Invisible Woman card. She said, "See this one? This one is going to Evan."
I studied her a bit and asked, "Why?"
"It's no big deal," she said, "He has a crush on someone already. I just want to torture him a little." She nonchalantly turned her head and resumed writing on the card.
Again, I laughed to myself, not quite knowing how to interpret that one.

When I returned to dinner in the kitchen, I found myself overwhelmed with a sense of giddy joy. What I noticed about my daughter was how carefully she selected each card, carefully considering each of their personalities, and viewed these selections as accurate representations of her friends. Mary gets to see herself in the form of a super woman -- bearing the qualities of strength and power and beauty. Jason, though characteristically a vigilante for good, perhaps has a tendency to lose control. And Evan, well... he may be catching a glimpse of what he's apparently missing.

I didn't see all of the cards or everything she saw within her classmates, but I did see a sense of meaning to an otherwise commercial holiday. This was a moment where the concept of Love, in its purest form, was presented as an energy extended to all -- not just a significant other. It is a time when all of your friends receive something special from you, no matter how small. And because these thoughts crossed my mind, I wanted all of my friends and family to know that I love them and find great value in their company. ... and Happy Valentine's Day too.

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