I am fortunate to have a lot of people in my life that I love. I have family and I have friends that know me well and they love me anyway. For this I am incredibly fortunate but for Valentines Day I want to talk about not who I love, which will be covered thoroughly by others throughout the day. My first fact before getting out of bed today was “54% of Americans will celebrate Valentines Day, down from 60% last year” spending however on the day will increase from $130 to $133 but clearly that is all business numbers and the economy and has little to do with love at all. It falls on a Friday this year and we lost 6% of the population.
I’m gonna make it simple and comment on ten things that I love and suggest that if you are just not feeling it this Valentines Day that you make a list too. There may be some overlap with your November list of what you are thankful for or it may be filled with entirely unique appreciations.
1. This first one is what inspired my list for the day. I love when I open the storm door in the morning and my newspaper is reachable without stepping out of the kitchen.
2. I love being seated in restaurants near other peoples kids. I love little voices, I’m fine with curious faces peeking over the booth and I am even sympathetic to crying babies.
3. I am fine with pets on the furniture (which you know when you leave our house covered in dog fir) but I especially love watching TV in the presence of a sleeping dog. They are so peaceful and trusting and need to get their rest before going to bed for the night. I love when they snore and when you can tell they are dreaming.
4. Free Stuff. This can be samples at the grocery store, in the mail, at big box stores on the weekends, stickers, buttons and even dog treats at the State Fair, mini vials of perfume and a personal favorite is at the Droolin’ Moose. The Droolin’ Moose is a local Twin Cities candy store that sells high quality confections in disposable cups. They are great as presents, care packages, hostess gifts or for movie nights. In the store they have self serve samples in front of each display. Their marketing dispels the myth that nobody is going to buy the cow if they are getting the milk for free. I most definitely have purchased chocolates based on their generous sample policies!
5. Phone calls from my kids. We text, exchange a Facebook message on occasion but sometimes hearing their voice and detecting their enthusiasm does the heart good.
6. I absolutely love finding the perfect present for someone and tucking it away. On the flip side I can’t stand shopping under pressure and settling on a gift.
7. I love when music transports me to another place and time. There is music that reminds me of each of my parents and there are songs that remind me of my senior year in high school or college spring break. Music can make me instantly happy or evoke a deep sadness. While some people dance like nobody is watching, when I am alone in the car I like to sing like nobody is listening.
8. Shopping sales racks with or for my son. While sales on towels and housewares are fine there is a deeper satisfaction when Eddie and I can score a designer shirt for 90% off the original price and use a coupon to boot. He has a passion for fashion and I am his enabler.
9. Family movies. From our Disney VHS collection of their youth to going to Saving Mr. Banks the week after Christmas, I love the time spent with Jeff and the kids in our own TV room or a theater watching a movie together. Though our tastes vary and we sometimes are better attending movies in pairs there is a specialness that exists when we are all together and a fondness I have when in our daily banter we toss in a familiar quote from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or a Monty Python favorite.
10. I love the opportunity to share stories, thoughts and memories. I have been a story teller my whole life and for some reason retain details and trivial pieces of information. My brothers used to describe me as a “veritable font of useless information”. As they have aged they have developed a greater appreciation for this trait. In college after an evening out and while trying to fall asleep my friend requested that I tell a story. When I asked her what about she said “one about your dad growing up or something with you and your brothers at the cabin.” It was like I was a juke box and she knew some of the familiar buttons to push.
So on this Valentines Day either call your mom, relax with a pet, listen to some music you love, play peek-a-boo with the kid in the booth next to you or go to a movie with someone you love. Hunt down a bargain, pick out a gift or get something free. Make a memory!