I’ve never outgrown the kids’ version of Valentine’s Day.
You know, the one where you dress up in your favorite red or pink outfit and go to a party where you get to eat homemade cupcakes and conversation hearts after exchanging cards with cheesy messages on them. (I remember spending hours signing my name to each card, always careful to have one for each classmate.)
I have never cared about the romantic aspect of Valentine’s Day and so haven’t paid much attention to it. I have never exchanged my inner child’s party clothes and sugar highs for sexy underwear and fine wine.
To me, Valentine’s Day is pure sweetness, literal and figurative. It comes at the point in winter when cold is blah and snow is no longer a novelty, but spring hasn’t quite begun to show itself. A bit of chocolate melting in my mouth or a pretty card received in the mail (cheesy message optional) is just what I need.
I’ve loved the ways in which my friends and family have, over the years, created those little spots of sweetness during our mutual celebrations of Valentine’s Day—from the cards tacked to my college dorm room door to the heart-shaped box full of mini candy bars my mother once sent me.
Today I received my mother’s annual Valentine card; she’s been sending me Valentines since I turned 18 and moved out of my parents’ home. I never take her cards for granted, mostly because I forget they’re coming until they arrive. There I am, trudging through February, and suddenly her card appears (this year’s has a fuzzy cat on it holding a heart) and I feel like a little girl again, telling my mother I’ll be her Valentine and hearing her tell me she’ll be mine.
I think we can all enjoy this sweetness, even if we do also celebrate the romance. So, from my inner child to yours, here are five things you can do to get into the spirit of a kids’ Valentine’s Day:
1. Play with glitter.
Seriously. Well, maybe not. Who can be serious around glitter? Make wild spirals with glue and dump as much glitter as you can on top (and ignore that voice in your head that’s telling you not to make a mess). Then hand deliver the results to someone who needs a laugh.
2. Buy yourself some silly cheap Valentine’s items that you would have liked as a child.
Let yourself play. Lay all your candy out on a table and make sculptures and designs with it. Then eat as much as you can without getting sick. (Don’t be like me the year I ate so many Red Hots that my taste buds were killed for the next week.) Color in a Valentine’s-themed coloring book. Wear a plastic tiara with fuzzy hearts on it.
3. Send a love note to your parents or parent figures.
It doesn’t matter whether they’re living; it doesn’t matter whether they’re biologically related to you. Who was/is always there for your inner child? Who helps him or her feel safe and wanted? Write a note, draw, paint or make a craft (construction paper hearts are always good). Be silly and sloppy if you need to be. Put your love in physical form, then deliver it in whatever way you can. If your note’s recipient is no longer alive or is inaccessible to you, send the note’s intention out into the universe in that person’s direction and then do something creative with the physical form (leave it on a bus seat or inside the covers of a library book, where someone else may find it and smile!).
4. Bake something really yummy, but don’t use any spoons or mixers.
Mix everything with your hands, and enjoy the way it feels (squishy!).
5. Watch this video.
It’s a kids’ version of a blind date, with the parts played by adult actors. It makes me laugh out loud every time.
Jayleigh Lewis is a writer who will one day write a book. She currently works as a spiritual advisor to college students as well as a freelance editor. She has a dream that one day humans will remember the integral role ceremony has in our lives and will learn to create sacred spaces within which intention may manifest. Learn more about her dream and read more of her words on her blog.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise