Teri Vance: Valentine’s love more than just a card

Jason Gardner competes in the newspaper toss during the End of Bike Week Party on Friday evening in McFadden Plaza.

Jason Gardner competes in the newspaper toss during the End of Bike Week Party on Friday evening in McFadden Plaza.

I have a Valentine’s card in my nightstand. It’s sparkly and decorated with hearts. It’s says something about love.

I bought it three years ago for my now-husband when we were still dating. I forgot to give it to him that year, and every year since I have patted myself on the back for already having a card ready to go for him.

But then I forget again, which happened again this week. And I don’t think he’s missed it at all.

Months ago, the Leisure Hour Club, which was established in the 1890s to bring culture to the Wild West town of Carson City, asked me to speak to the group this month. At first, I was asked to speak on Valentine’s Day about love.

But then they realized, the meeting was actually the following Wednesday, so I’ll be speaking to them this week more about my life experiences growing up in rural Nevada and being a journalist.

But the ideas about love have kind of been rolling around in my head and were driven home this week as I heard and talked to people musing about Valentine’s Day.

For me, it’s always been a troublesome day.

When you’re single, it serves as a reminder you’re alone, and can exacerbate this feeling that something vital is missing from life.

The strange thing is, being in a relationship, at least for me, doesn’t really make the holiday much better. Now, there’s this inordinate amount of pressure to be romantic and lovey, and it doesn’t feel natural.

If you were to believe the messages being sent in commercials, movie and other media, you’re not really loved unless you’re receiving roses and chocolates — even better, diamonds. And those things better be presented during a candle-lit dinner.

That just doesn’t work for me. None of it.

And I’m going to venture to guess it doesn’t really work for most of us. But that’s not to say most of us aren’t experiencing love.

In fact, I’d argue the opposite is quite likely closer to the truth.

We all have so many opportunities to love and be loved in our lives. While romantic love is touted during this season, it’s far from the only way we connect with others around us.

I look around and see teachers who’ve dedicated their lives to their students, parents whose worlds revolve around their children, dear friendships. Adoring aunts, uncles and grandparents and people who see a need in the community and work to find solutions — all of these people are giving and receiving authentic love.

And that’s not to say I don’t see value in romantic love. I do. And it’s beautiful. But it doesn’t have to — and rarely does — match Hallmark’s version. I also think Valentine’s Day is a good reminder to take stock of the love in our lives and find ways to more actively demonstrate it.

So even though Valentine’s Day is over, I’m letting it serve as a reminder to be more open to receiving love, being more grateful for it and trying to be better at showing it.

And could you help me remember to give Gary his card next year?

Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at terivance@rocketmail.com.


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