Personally, I am never really prepared for Valentine's Day. I usually find myself sifting through the picked-over Russell Stover selections the Saturday before the Big Day and remembering to sign my cards to my husband and kids the night before.
After I've already gone to bed.
And dug them out of the closet . . . from behind a pile of shoe boxes.
Take this year, for instance. I finally remembered to sign my cards so late into the night that my messages became less prolific with each card I wrote. My youngest son's card ended up reading, "I love you more than chocolate."
Hey, it's not Maya Angelou, but it's still a true statement.
Even though he didn't believe me.
My lack of foresight doesn't mean I don't love all the hype. I do love the hearts, flowers, cards, and candy. I love the chance to tell those I love how much they mean to me. But, really, what's love got to do with it?
Valentine's Day is nice, but it's not enough.
That kind of prepackaged love isn't enough to make me speak kindly to my husband even when I don't agree with him or to remain patient with my kids when they're pushing my buttons like a game of Whack-a-Mole. I need something more than that. I need a kind of love can't be bought for $9.99 and isn't replaced by Easter baskets before I've even had a chance to do my shopping.
I want the kind of love that keeps on loving even when the other person is grumpy, tired, unreasonable, rude, unfair, or negative. I want to love my husband and kids like that because I need them to love me like that, and I know I'm not always lovable. (I know. Hard to believe.)
That's the kind of love that sees you through. It lasts a lot longer than a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates, and it doesn't expand your waistline.
And it doesn't cost a thing.
Except maybe a little bit of pride.