The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year in the US. Half of those valentines are given to family members other than husband or wife, usually to children.
This year, with my two oldest off at college, I decided to do what I’ve never done before – namely, send them a valentine box, stuffed with health food (and other) goodies. The idea originated when my friend Susan Brecker told me she does this every year for her daughter, who loves the tradition. Susan, if you don’t know, is the wife of the late Michael Brecker and producer of the film More To Live For, which tells the story of Michael and three other men suffering from varying forms of Leukemia and in need of bone marrow transplants.
When it comes to children, whether they’re young or old, it’s usually Mama who’s doing the valentine giving, once they’re out of kindergarten and onto their own social lives, kids have a way of getting on with the business of their own lives, which they should! For mothers this can be a time of challenge. Whether divorced, separated, widowed or a mother to grown children, women can feel lonely and isolated when the doses of flowers, candy and hugs are passed around.
I think of my own mother in Ohio, living alone and spending these hours primarily by herself. And, yes, I’m preparing to send my other two children off to college in the next two years and facing my own empty-nest syndrome.
But, in all my years of giving and receiving love, the only antidote I know to loneliness, is giving love with a positive and magnanimous attitude. Giving in all its forms, bestowed voluntarily and without compensation is the ultimate panacea for the human condition. When I’m lonely, I reach out. When I feel forgotten, I remember. When I want to receive love, I give love. And, when I want to live in grace, I release all expectations. It’s always the same- If you do have pain, longing or disconnectedness – transforming those moments into joy by sharing something positive with another.
It’s been suggested that Valentine’s Day was created as an attempt to supersede the pagan holiday of Lupercalia. The Lupercalia festival was partly in honor of Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled the infant orphans, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome explaining the name of the festival, Lupercalia, or “Wolf Festival.” The festival was celebrated near the cave of Lupercalon the Palatine Hill (the central hill where Rome was traditionally founded, to expiate and purify new life in the Spring).
BIO: Joy Rose is the founder of Mamapalooza Inc. and is spending 2011 raising awareness and funds for the Museum Of Motherhood, the first and only facility of it’s kind serving as a unique resource for those who wish to study the history of mothers, mother-art, and the culture of family. She hopes you will join her on this mission to provide a space and platform that raises awareness of mother-work and amplifies the voices of women and families.