Show me the love

In the days leading up to Feb. 14, I heard a retail expert on a talk show pushing the gifts we all should consider as Valentine’s presents for our mates, children, our single friends (because apparently nobody is single by choice, right), neighbours and co-workers. It turns out even the cat needs a stupid Valentine. Be mine? Really?

According to the shopping expert, we need to remember that “tokens” of love are a necessary expression of our love of others.

Therefore, to suggest Valentine’s Day is a manufactured holiday, is to be selfish, the retail expert said. Valentine’s Day is not about us: it’s about others. It’s about love. It’s about spending money to show love.

Um, okay. I suppose if you’ve got a spot on morning television chances are you can afford to treat your Valentine, or single gal pals or even your cat with the freebies you’re getting to promote these products.

But for the rest of us schmoes out here who have bills to pay and no room in the budget for extra gifts, “show me the money” is not the same as “show me the love” (can I get an amen?).

If we’re teaching our children that love isn’t a tangible gift, but something we give simply through our deeds, actions and words every day, all the time, then do children really need another stuffed animal or video game to understand they are loved? 

People keep talking about raising a generation of spoiled brats and yet we keep buying our children gifts to make them feel validated. How about teaching children they are worthy simply because they are, and they matter simply because they do. Time. Words. Actions. All free (don’t’ even get me started on the cat).

If you really want to score points this Valentine’s Day, tell the person you love why you love them. Not the greeting card version with the hokey poetry. Spell it out. Say what you mean. Why is that so hard? I promise, you will not die on the spot. There isn’t a man or woman alive who doesn’t want to hear they are worthy of love. It could change everything. Try it. I dare you. It’s free

The Carpenter never sends me roses on Valentine’s Day because I have murdered every houseplant he’s ever grown. He figures it would be cruel to send flowers that I would surely kill before they had a chance to bloom. That’s a fair assessment.

Please know I’m not poking fun at those of you who shower the people you love with gifts. If you have the means to do it, go for it. I love to give presents and I am not shy that I love to receive them too.

It’s not wrong to spend money on the folks you love. Spend to your heart’s content. But if you can’t do it, if the budget won’t stretch that far, or if you don’t buy into the hype, that’s okay too. We need to remember that.

Love isn’t about stuff and when you know that, I believe you already have everything you need. Remembering that, every day, is the path to happiness.

Happy Valentine’s Day to my Carpenter, because you are everything a man should be and you love me right back; and to our children, who have given me the most powerful love I know.

You are all I need.


Kelly Waterhouse