To Love

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. — Lao Tzu

I know it’s popular these days to hate Valentine’s Day and rail against its commercial nature, but I have always been a fan. Relax, no one is making you spend money, just thoughtfulness. I do understand the urge to rebel against someone telling you how to express your love, especially if you feel you’re already quite good in that department. But are most of us, really? Can’t we benefit from a gentle nudge in the love direction once a year? At the end of our life, we will never regret expressing our love and appreciation to others. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that most of us will wish we had done more.

We have always celebrated Valentine’s Day with special food. Aside from our first year of dating, we neverevereverevereverEVER go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. The service is poor, the prices are jacked up, and the restaurants are crowded with people who otherwise never step foot in a restaurant. No thanks!

Instead we either get take-out and eat it in the dining room by candlelight or make something special from one of my cooking magazines. 90% of the time, I am in yoga pants instead of something fancy. If I’m cooking, I like to prepare something nicer like lobster or filet mignon. Ed, old fashioned guy and fabulous role model, always buys me a sweet card, roses and chocolate, and even though I always yell at him not to waste his money (and I’m on a diet!), I secretly love it. I know people who go all out with big ticket items, but I am truly happy with our setup.

This year Valentine’s Day in our house is rescheduled to the 13th due to two basketball practices on the 14th, and I decided to make something the whole family enjoys: Beef Bourguignon! Shhh, don’t tell Julia, but I will be trying out a new recipe. I will report back on Monday or Tuesday and let you know how it turned out. Usually on Valentine’s Day we just feed the kids whatever is quick and easy, but I’m glad this year they are sharing our special meal with us on Faux-Valentine’s Day. Sometimes you just have to have glorified beef stew on a Monday night in yoga pants to remember you are Real and surrounded by so much love.

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

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