Dina L. Relles

writer. editor. curious + common.

photo-16 photo-26

I admit it. I’m a Valentine’s Day Scrooge.

I’ve long considered it a manufactured “Hallmark holiday.”

As early as middle school, it was an opportunity to blatantly broadcast your puppy love when you’d open your locker only to find a gaudy trinket or (if you’re lucky) a mix tape replete with Billy Joel and Richard Marx ballads.

Even when I was in a relationship, I found it to be an affront to single people–and a patronizing invasion into how and when we couples chose to express our love.

Now, as with everything post-parent, I see things differently. I see it through the eyes of my sweet children.

And teaching them about love? Now there’s definitely something to that.

We’re not one of those families that says “I love you” at every parting. We probably don’t talk about love much at all—at least not explicitly. So when my preschooler presents me with a V-day card he made in school declaring his love for me, his father, and his brothers, I can’t help but turn to mush.


When guns and violence somehow seep into even Superbowl commercials, it’s a welcome change to have rom-coms flood the airwaves and hearts grace every storefront.

We need not fixate only on romantic love. This Valentine’s Day, I’m going to focus on mother-love, brother-love, on spreading love of mankind…of our fellow neighbor…of the everyday, common things that bring a smile to our face.

In that spirit, here are just a few of the things I love these days:

  • the way my four-year-old will snuggle with me when he first wakes up in the morning (but only then);
  • when my three-year-old brushes his shaggy hair out of his eyes with his little palm after I pull a shirt down over his head;
  • how my baby boy nestles into the curve of my neck;
  • curling up on a cold night under this one quilt Husband and I bought at a Cracker Barrel years ago on a pre-kid road trip down South;
  • the way Twitter is making the world smaller…one tweet at a time;
  • the song Some Nights by the indie rock band Fun. (Playing it on repeat these days, people. I’m hooked.);
  • my afternoon coffee, perfectly complemented by chocolate chip Dunkers cookies from Trader Joe’s;
  • the incredible community of mother-writers out there I’ve only just begun to appreciate;
  • scarves;
  • my four-year-old’s insightful (yet challenging) questions (like—How does your body grow? or Who was the first person who ever lived on this earth?);
  • “guys”—as in the way my three-year-old says “hey guys” to get our attention;
  • watching The Bachelor (though I’m not much of a JP fan), glass of sweet red wine in hand;
  • hearing my four-year-old confidently assure me that he won’t slip on the everywhere ice—because he’s Superman (and he really believes it);
  • the cozy feeling of being at home, my boys asleep, and the snow falling silently outside.

(I’ll tell you one thing, though—I’m still hating on the burdensome classmate V-day card exchange tradition. We’ve done the creative, hand-written, personalized cards for each student in the past. This year, I just don’t have it in me. And you know what? I don’t want the tens of cards from all my kids’ classmates to come cluttering up my house, either. Especially when I’m trying to purge.)

What are you loving this Valentine’s Day? Whatever it is…I hope you’re out there…spreading the love.

One thought on “Valentine’s Day, Reimagined

  1. Amanda says:

    I loved this post. I’m a mom of three little men too (ages 4, 2 and 3 months) and my husband is also a physician. My husband does a great job throughout the year (especially on Valentines) of demonstrating to our boys how to dote on me, but I feel a daily responsibility to teach them all of the different types of love and how to appreciate it!

This is your place, too...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: