Today, if you haven’t noticed yet, is Valentine’s Day.
The people around me and the websites I follow are all handling it differently. Paper Droids, for example, talks about lupercalia. My friends with dates are off on their dates. My single friends are politely ignoring that today is happening.
But I’ve always had a pretty specific association with Valentine’s Day. And despite having dated off and on almost straight through for nine years (currently off), that association isn’t with romance.
Actually, it’s with Snoopy.
I was in the middle of working this morning (my usual day-off activity between 8:30 and 12) when an email popped up from my mom. “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
A few minutes after I responded, my phone went off with a text message. “It’s the first time in many years, but no small boxes of Russell Stover this year,” my mom had texted my sister and me. My response: “I checked the mail every day this week to look for it! I was very disappointed.”
For as long as I can remember, I would wake up on Valentine’s Day, head downstairs, and find a trio of Valentine’s Day chocolates on the table, one labeled with the name of me and my younger brother and sister. It was always a little box of Russell Stover chocolates, and it was — without fail — the one with a little Snoopy figurine.
Somewhere in my parents’ house, there’s a plastic box filled with Snoopy figurines from years of receiving them from my mother.
This year, the email from my mother said “You are the love of my life, and I am so proud of all that you have accomplished so far! Keep making the magic and bringing the confusion to my head. I wouldn’t have it any other way!”
I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for feelings. I write sappy letters to friends and family members. Long letters, sometimes, handwritten in cursive and five pages long. I cry at heartfelt praise.
I definitely cried at my mom’s email this morning.
Valentine’s Day, for just about 23 years now, has been a day when my mother made sure to tell me that she loved me and felt proud of me. That what I was doing and all I had done before was valid, was magical and confusing and part of who I am.
And it’s been a time to send my sister Instagram pictures of Snoopy valentines. My sister’s response to my mother’s text that this year was a year without chocolate: “They don’t have the little plastic Snoopys anymore, so really, what’s the point?”
But then again, even without plastic Snoopy figurines, Valentine’s Day will keep being the day that I’m reminded how much my family loves me, and a day I keep reminding my friends that I love them.