Home Planet

The Sweetest Valentine

I've been going over some old Valentine columns and decided to post a few in the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day. After all, some things bear repeating.


February 11, 2008

Home Planet: Words much sweeter than gifts

Cheryl-Anne Millsap
The Spokesman-Review

I love you. There. Now was that so hard? I just put into writing the three little words that each of us needs to say and hear, and it didn’t cost me a thing.

I didn’t have to buy a card, or a flower or a bundle of balloons. No candy or jewelry. No roses or perfume or expensive meals. No lingerie, no chocolate, no poetry or gifts.

Like every other holiday or pseudo holiday, we’ve invented, Valentine’s Day has become an orgy of hollow sentiment and blatant consumerism. Enough is never enough.

Thinking of giving her a single rose? Try a dozen long-stemmed beauties if you want to really win her heart.

A little taste of chocolate? Cheapskate. Buy the big box to impress your true love.

Bigger diamonds, more gold and silver and the most expensive wine.

Real love, the message seems to be, ought to take a bite out of your wallet, not your heart.

And every year we seem to buy more but we manage to say less.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a day set aside, say, around the middle of February, where the only expectation was that each of us would look, really look, deeply into the eyes of those we care for and then tell them how we feel?

The shy, or over-achievers, could put the words on a piece of paper – preferably a sheet of plain white paper so nothing could distract from the meaning. E-mails and phone calls are OK if you can’t deliver the message in person. But only then.

Can you imagine?

Think of the balm in those words; the wounds that could be healed. The damage that could be undone.

I know. It’s too simple.

But the older I get the more I like simple. Life is complicated enough. I’m looking at an online course that will teach me how to use my cell phone, for goodness sake. I think we could all use a little more simple.

There are people on this earth who mean as much to me as the air I breathe. More than the cards and chocolates and trinkets I give them. But every year I try to get my message across in all those things, when all I really ought to do is open my mouth and say what needs to be said.

The beauty of it is that each time we find the right words, and say them aloud, our reward is wrapped in the response:

I love you, too.

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Cheryl-Anne Millsap's Home Planet column appears each week in the Wednesday "Pinch" supplement. Cheryl-Anne is a regular contributor to Spokane Public Radio and her essays can be heard on Public Radio stations across the country.



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