The Candy Hearts are Gone

Have you visited your local gift and card shops lately? If so, you surely have noticed that there’s a new guy in the neighborhood. His name is St. Patrick and he’s moved right into the spaces that had formerly been occupied by St. Valentine.

Green shamrocks have replaced hearts and flowers on the covers of greeting cards. Little plush elves dressed in Irish regalia now reside on shelves that recently housed chocolate roses.

St. Patrick has even announced his arrival in the workplace. Gone are the ubiquitous heart-shaped candies that professed our affection for each other. The receptionist’s desk is now laden with pots of golden chocolate coins.

So it’s on to the faked Irish brogue and an “O” preceding our surnames. And we can certainly forget about all that love stuff. Right? Not!

Did we really need a reminder on February 14 that love and kindness should permeate our lives? I don’t think so.  I think that we all continue to love our spouses and partners, our children, parents, and friends whether it is Valentine’s Day or not. What we do forget, however, is the wonderfully free-flowing demonstrativeness that day allowed.

On Valentine’s Day we helped our children share cards of affection with their classmates and teachers. We adults openly expressed our love for each other in ways that, perhaps, we neglect to do the rest of the year. There’s no way we could have been “too busy” to overlook the day and its meaning. Restaurants offered special dinners; hotels advertised “lover’s weekend retreats”. Even the comic section of your daily newspaper followed a Valentine’s Day theme.

So just what happened on February 15th? We scarfed down the last of the chocolates, added water to the vase of long-stemmed roses and continued on with our hectic lives. What might not have happened was taking the time to tell each other that we love them.

While it isn’t realistic to suggest that we make every day Valentine’s Day – we certainly don’t need more cards and candy – I propose that we find our own version of that day of love at least once a week. And let us call it Valentine’s Week. Once a week make a date with your spouse or partner. Go to dinner or a movie; make a special meal at home; take a walk together; leave the hectic world behind and concentrate on just the two of you. Do the same with your children by making sure each of them have individual time with you to talk and play and learn about each other. Find a way to let the friends and family members who you love know just how important they are to you.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Valentine’s Week does not preclude remembering to say “I love you” on a daily basis; holding hands and bestowing each other with caring glances. Valentine’s Week allows for an ongoing reminder (how sad that sometimes we need reminders) that we do love each other and we need to share that love.

If I may borrow an age old tradition from elementary school, let’s think of Valentine’s Week as our own personal “show and tell”. Make sure you show those whom you love how much you love them. Make sure you remember to tell them with those three priceless words: “I love you”.

And now, even though it is not February 14, I will leave my computer, go up to my husband’s office and give him a kiss.




  1. When I worked at hospice for 13 years I learned so much from those leaving this world into the next. One of the teachings they wanted all of us to learn who took care of them is to say ‘I love you.” One elderly woman once told me as we were talking one day about life – how sad it must be for someone never to love another. So often I heard the words I love you and my response the same to people I never knew until I was allowed to walk with them on their sacred journey. Never once did the patients tell me they wished they would have made more money – it was always that they wished they would have said “I love you” more. It’s not too late for the rest of us to learn such powerful lessons – to love and be loved is the most wonderful gift ever – even if in the end we might get hurt. To me the pain is worth the journey.

  2. Good stuff to remember. I would add that we can’t just stop with treating those we know in a loving way. We need to practice tolerance and patience with strangers, too.
    If we yell and scream at the person who cuts us off on the road then we are not spreading compassion and love. When we are suscipious or judgmental of those who are different, we add to the negatvity in the world. When possible and if we stay mindful, we can expand our loving nature to include everyone. Instead of a world filled with angry and divison, we can create a web of inclusion , tolerance and compassion. The ultimate gift of a peaceful and non-violent world is the greatest gift we can leave to the next generation.

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