I love you.

I have long disliked Valentine’s Day, have often derided it as the ultimate Hallmark holiday

But now that I have children, suddenly, I love it.  It’s not just my abiding passion for the combination of red and pink.  It’s also that I love having a day so focused on telling my children I love them.  I don’t believe it’s possible for me to tell them that too much.  As firmly, fiercely, as I agree with Jenn Mattern’s wise and beautiful description of why she refuses to teach her daughters that the world revolves around them, I also want Grace and Whit to know deep in their spirits that they are loved by me without exception, without pause, without end.

This reminds me of Peggy Noonan’s wonderful editorial after the 9/11 attacks, where she asserts something I believe deeply: expressing how we feel frequently doesn’t cheapen the words, but allows them to sink into the object of our affection’s very marrow. We are often told the opposite, that we ought not say “I love you” too much, as though somehow we might wear it out or drain it of meaning.  I simply don’t agree with that.  Noonan summarizes her point:

We’re all lucky to be here today and able to say what deserves saying, and if you say it a lot, it won’t make it common and so unheard, but known and absorbed.

So I’ll take today, this day of lunchboxes packed with sandwiches cookied cuttered into heart shapes, backpacks bursting with homemade Valentines, and red velvet cupcakes with whipped cream frosting to tell my children I love you, again, always, no matter what.  I think we should all take the time to tell somehow we love that we do.  Don’t wait, and don’t hesitate.  You can’t say it too much.

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  1. Posted February 14, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I used to loathe Valentine’s Day, and I’m certainly not making a big deal out of it today (we are a plague house this week, apparently, so we’re not doing much of anything but coughing and blowing noses), but yes, I do now kind of love the idea of a day dedicated to genuine love, not sappy holiday love, but the deep, abiding kind. It kind of gives me a sense of “redeeming” the holiday – taking something that’s meant to be fluffy and shallow and infusing it with deeper meaning. I’m all for that!

  2. Posted February 14, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    This year, Valentine’s Day is just another day for me. But, I do love the cookies!!!

  3. Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    valentine’s day changed for me with my children too. I love to tuck a special treat in their lunch. Or wrap up a little gift and decorate it with cut out paper hearts…

    the love I share with my husband is battle sown and beyond paper hearts. and I am glad for that too.

  4. Trish
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    You are treasured by me….my cyberpal…one day I look forward to meeting up again in person (wish I had realized you were in the room at Karen Maezen Miller’s seminar in 2010).

    Happy Valentine’s Day to someone whose heart is a vast, vibrant and valued to all that love you including me.


  5. Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    My grandpa hardly ever wrote letters to his sons. In the time before frequent long distance calls, this felt like a lack of love. My own father writes often, sometimes long letters more often short notes. They are always expressions of love, even if those words are never said.

    I enjoy this day of homemade glittery hearts, especially since my girls have taught me the value of pink. I look forward to taking my big girl lunch at school to share an extra thirty minutes of her day. But, it’s all the little ways that we show love (though not center-of-the-universe-ness) that instill that sense of long and enduring love.

  6. Leslie
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Completely agree, and happy to repeat the words often as an adult, to my husband, to my own two boys. I originally come from a family whose utterance of these words caused one to choke.

    Perhaps you’ve seen this at NYTimes?


  7. Posted February 14, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I wish you were my mom!!

  8. Posted February 14, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this reminder, Lindsey. I spent the weekend with my 21 year old son out in Ann Arbor, where he goes to college. My husband and he spend so much time talking about sports. I try desperately to keep up with them, but sometimes I just need to bring the topic back to LOVE. On our last night there, I texted Jack, first apologizing if I was embarrassing him, and then telling him all of the reasons why I love him.

    His reply?


    And just now, my older son texted me Happy Valentine’s Day, Mo!.

    Texting totally works for me.

    As does posting: Happy Valentine’s Day, Lindsey. It’s been such a treat and honor getting to know you. You are my online Valentine!

  9. Posted February 15, 2012 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Love to you, my friend, on every day…