“Flourishes don’t distract us from the real meaning of holidays or relationships—they help us remember.”
Valentine’s Day is my favorite day of the year. I buy birthday cakes, and I put glitter in the envelopes of all my cards. I celebrate my half-birthday. The bigger the wedding the better, I always say. I remember the date we first kissed. I leave notes for people on their beds, under their doors, in their notebooks when they’re not looking just to say that they are awesome and never change. I buy decorations for every single holiday. I get pancakes on National Pancake Day.
Some people question the authenticity or the necessity in decorations, flourishes, or certain luxuries pertaining to celebrations. Why on earth would you celebrate your 4 month anniversary? Say things like “We’ve been married for 30 some years, we don’t need a date night anymore,” “My birthday is no big deal,” or even “Valentine’s Day is made up by candy companies. You should tell that person you love them every day and not just one day a year.”
But when I think back to my fifth birthday I can clearly remember the Blue’s Clues party hats and the floral dress I wore. I remember writing on fifty Popsicle sticks all the reasons I loved my boyfriend at the time as a gift for his birthday: “you’re strong,” “you’re always listening,” “you’re brave.” I remember my parent’s twentieth wedding anniversary because I tried to make them spaghetti and dyed pudding green with whipped cream so it would be Saint Patrick’s themed. I put tiny Hershey kisses on the all the cafeteria tables my senior year of high school.
Without these seemingly pointless actions, I’m not so sure I would remember these days. Flourishes don’t distract us from the real meaning of holidays or relationships—they help us remember. I love so many people and I try to tell them every single day of the year, but Valentine’s Day is the one day where people can buck up the courage to freely express themselves and why shouldn’t we celebrate that? Your birthday isn’t just another day. You have scars, battle wounds, victories tattooed all over your skin from the past twelve months and you should rejoice in making it to another birthday. A lot of people don’t. I don’t care how long you’ve been married, send your husband flowers to his office no matter how cheesy it sounds. Because soon enough sparks will fade and you’ll have to reignite new ones. So buy your wife a card that will make her laugh. Take her to dinner. Buy lingerie or run into his shower. Do whatever you have to do to remember why you fell in love in the first place.
People didn’t “invent” holidays just to sell candy or cards. People made them because they needed something to celebrate—a joyous distractions from all the stress, business, and gloom in their lives. Use these holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays to light up someone’s world. Put a post-it on your boyfriend’s bathroom mirror that says “good morning.” Buy twenty-two KitKat’s for her twenty second birthday. Bring red velvet cake to class for that girl who sits in the back. Go buy a cupcake and post a picture of it with #nationalcupcakeday. Do the stupid things that yes, probably don’t matter. But ten years from now you’ll be able to look back and remember those days that otherwise would have passed by without recognition. Let yourself make memories. Celebrate the little things.