I looked at the calendar yesterday and panicked. Valentines Day is upon us and I have not started a single project. For many this is the day for lovers, ever see that long line of men at the grocery check out with last minute cards, flowers and candy? For others, it's about being a school room mother who makes cup cakes and helps with a party. But for some, Valentines Day is a reminder they are alone. No sweetheart, maybe the children are grown or you have never had any, and all the people around you make you feel lost and empty on February 14th.
Surprise, it's not about you. This is not a day to focus on you and your life, it's a day to give back. If you are one of the people with nobody to share the day with, or have small children, this is a day to spend on others. Here are a few tips and ideas we have done over the years.
1. If you are an animal person, make today about visiting the local animal shelter. The workers there are often unsung heros. Take pet supplies, used blankets and towels, usually you can get a bag full for a couple of bucks and Salvation Army, pet food for the animals and gifts for the workers. A warm batch of cookies and some coffee is a nice afternoon treat. Offer to help walk a dog while you are there.
2. Adopt a family in need. People have different needs, it's not always about money. If you attend church, inquire about helping a family on the prayer list. A family with a sick family member would welcome a meal delivered to their home, bring some valentines themed cookies or cupcakes as well. Make a special get well card for the family member. Look into helping a family home bound with a special needs child, ask them if you can sit while they go out, or possibly take out the siblings for a fun night.
3. Visit the nursing home. Call first to learn any rules and times for meals and snacks. If allowed, take flowers, cards, ect., to residents. Eat a meal with a widow or widower. Ask them to tell you how they met their spouse, what was dating like for them, when did they know they were in love. Some people cannot wait to share, and you can learn a lot about another time in History from these precious people.
4. If you live near a children's hospital, call and find out the rules for visiting. Some places will allow you to hold a party in sun rooms for the children. Take craft supplies to help them make Valentines for parent's other children and hospital staff. Read a book to them, Jack Prelutsky It's Valentines Day comes to mind.
5. Reach out to an Army family. Many people have loved ones deployed on this day. Take baked goods or a meal to the family and thank them for their service. Let them know you care.
6. Reach out to the everyday people in your life. Take cookies or cup cakes to the grocery store where you shop most often and drop off at the service desk to share with people at work. Remember the postal clerk and take treats to the post office. How about the trash collector? The police and fire department? All these people are important in our lives, remind them that you know this and today, you are saying thank you.
When we step out of our box and look at all the amazing people around us, we see people just waiting to share a few minutes or even hours with us. Take time to remind others just how special they are to you, and you will discover, the day is pretty amazing, even without a sweetheart to share it with.