I’ve been noticing how children make holidays come to life. They love to prepare for something special, to create a celebration. When it comes to holidays, my children do bring out the best in me. I enjoy reaching back into my memory for stories and traditions to share, and designing the rituals that will become our own family’s traditions.
Valentine’s Day has never been a big deal to me. Maybe a little cynical, I’m sure I’ve rolled my eyes about this greeting card holiday. But now I’m actually having fun talking to my daughters about love—their love for each other and for their family and friends. We’re busy making pictures and valentines that express the way we feel about the special people in our lives. Perhaps this holiday can serve as a reminder that we do need to express ourselves and share what’s in our hearts more often.
On a deeper level, I’ve been thinking about how grown-ups actually need this reminder. We put a tremendous amount of time and energy into the work of family life, raising our children, tending to all of our responsibilities. It’s easy for love to get stuck sometimes. It doesn’t always flow so easily. What I’m learning is that when we turn some attention back to ourselves and give greater care to our own needs, we begin to clear the space for love to flow easily again. Self-care begins to take pressure away, allowing our hearts to fill with love. When our hearts are bursting with love, it’s only natural that it flow out and touch those around us. Love for ourselves creates the space for greater love for our partners, our children, our friends and our communities. This is the real love lesson that I hope will weave its way into my daughters’ memories and traditions and understandings of who they are.
Allison Abramson is currently offering Seven Days of Love, a mini e-course about LOVE and self-care. It starts on Valentine’s Day.