Valentines that last

Valentines come in many forms. They can be sentimental cards or candy in a pretty box. They might be an expensive present or a smile and a few kind words. Flowers too are nice and go well with a romantic dinner. Whatever form they take, valentines remind us that it's an uncommon day, a day for special friends and lovers.

But alas, the cards will be read and the candy eaten, expensive presents discarded and kind words forgotten. In time the flowers will wilt and the romantic dinner become but yesterday's fond memory.

Something more is needed, a valentine not to be discarded, not to be forgotten. This valentine needs to last longer than the day and keep reminding, keep saying, 'I love you.'

The spirit of Valentine's Day is hard to capture in a well-intended gift or simple verse. It is not to be found in things we can touch and hold. Rather, the spirit of love and caring is in the bond between friends, within the tie that binds. It is hard to define but impossible to miss. The familiar ingredients are always there for you to feel, for you to take into your heart. Valentines that last, the kind that keep saying, 'I love you,' are filled with extra gifts, with added value that lasts far beyond the day. What are these extras, the special ingredients that make valentines that last?

A personal valentine.

On this Valentine's Day, you will not receive flowers from me. I have done the roses thing before. The same goes for the romantic dinner and candy in a pretty box. This Valentine's Day, I give to you a valentine you can neither hold nor see, one made of special ingredients, a value added valentine just for you.

In your valentine, you will find affection any time you need a hug. It is always there, complete with warm thoughts and tender feelings. There also is acceptance of you as you are. Just as you accept me, warts and all, I do not want to change you, do not want you to change.

For you, there is more. In your valentine you will find consideration and respect. Your feelings matter to me and your needs and goals are as important as mine. Though I sometimes fall short of what you deserve, this valentine promises you full measures of consideration and respect.

Added to your valentine are dependability, energy, and interest. You can depend on me to be there for you. There is always enough energy to help you reach your goals and to share your burdens. Interest in what you are doing and in what you have to say is sincere. Whenever dependability falters, energy lessens, or my interest seems low, you have this valentine. It works like a bill that is payable on demand. It is in consideration of my debt to you; and you can call it in anytime you choose.

As you see, valentines are filled with important stuff. It is the stuff of friendship and of the give-and-take of caring for and about each other. But for you, there are ingredients far less adult, far less mature. They are playful and gentle, spontaneous and mischievous. They are full of fun and good times, private games and warm summer evenings. These ingredients are for us and for all the little kids like us who have to sometimes act our age, be adults, and take care of business. We do what we need to do as best we can; but when the child in me gets to hang out with the child in you, Valentine's Day is at its best.

That brings me to the main ingredient in this valentine. On this you can rely. Any time the little girl in you wants to come out and play, the little boy in me is eager to be your playmate. He wants you and him to be each other's valentines for always and always.

Valentines are for sharing.

Since you may not have your own column to send a valentine to your sweetheart, I offer the ingredients in this one to you. You are familiar with them and can blend them into a valentine uniquely from you. You can give your valentine a flavor and texture that is just right for the one you love; but mix the ingredients with care. Only send this valentine if you are sincere. Remember, this one is intended to last a very long time.
By Gary Crow November 18, 2017