To My First Valentine

Its Valentine’s weekend. I happen to be one of those rare and wonderful people who actually love Valentine’s day. Yes, yes I know – it’s a commercial holiday machine to incite people to spend more money; its unnecessary if you have a fruitful and loving relationship; its stupid to have only ONE day in which the importance of expressing your love is emphasized.
  I still love it. My dad used to come home from work every Valentine’s Day without fail and surprise me, my mom, and my little sisters – "the only women in his life" – with sweet, handmade valentines, flowers, and candy. Oh, and he always gives me heart-shaped earrings. I hate heart-shaped jewelry. I can’t tell you why; I love every other kind of jewelry – flowers, silver, gold, pearls, dangly, simple, etc… just not hearts. But I never had the heart [haha accidental pun!] to tell my father, so I would have to wear them once a year, just for him.
   Each year I would expect him to be too busy to remember Valentines, and each year he would delightfully surprise me. Even my first year away at college, I was shocked with a huge package in the mail (and my family, wonderful as they are, NEVER sent me a care package – so this was doubly shocking), filled with the usual tacky demonstrative displays of affection from my Dad.
   My Dad never spent a lot of money on Valentines… and he was always affectionate and loving throughout the other 364 days of the year. But it was still so special to me that he loved an excuse to go all out and be as corny and sappy as he could be. Dad's ability to lavish his daughters and wife with true, simple, at-times-embarrassing love will be something I treasure for the rest of my life. So here's to good, old-fashioned, unabashed Valentines.