Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine’s Kitsch

sean's handful of hearts

Valentine’s Day is spreading in Europe but being met with a backlash. The resisters condemn Valentine's Day for being superficial, commercialist and imported Western kitsch.

Guilty, on all three counts. It’s a silly Hallmark holiday and I’ve often argued with Brian that I’d rather get a flower any day but Valentine’s Day when they are marked up and twice as expensive.

And yet…it is a chocolate-covered kitsch that I happen to adore. Flowers. Chocolate. Love letters. Hearts. Candy.

The Generosity Day has great intentions and I’m all for it. But their big accusation against Valentine’s Day is “cheesy cards” and “obligatory dinners.” Um, yes, that’s what’s great about it. We’re getting a babysitter on a school night. At some point in the day, Brian and I will each take time out to open those cheesy cards and add our own thoughts and words. It would be great if we did all this on our own, and to some extent we do, but it’s also wonderful to have certain calendar dates encourage you.

Possibly the biggest threat in a great relationship is the hedonic adaptation (which I first heard of on Gretchen Rubin’s site); basically it’s our ability to quickly get used to the good things in our life and take them for granted.

I’m reminded of my mother’s favorite quote from To Kill a Mockingbird: ““Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

I don’t want the fear of losing what I have to be what pushes me to value it. After twenty years though, this relationship is as essential—and as easy to take for granted---as breathing to me. Anniversaries---and yes, cheesy, kitsch holidays like Valentine’s day, offer a chance to look with fresh eyes once again on the miracle that strikes us with such awe in our youth, that the person we love also loves us. What are the chances?

As Greg Brown signs, “I just can’t get used to it.” At least I’m trying my best not to just get used to it.


And now…the winner of Brene Brown’s Parenting Manifesto!  Thank you for entering, Lara, Christina and Misty! I had Nolan choose between the numbers 1, 2, and 3 and the winner is:

#1: Lara,February 5, 2013 at 2:07 PM

My submission:
I will teach you the value of the truth. To live truthfully is to live freely, free from shame, free from guilt, free from fear and open to love.

Congratulations, Lara!

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