There once was a time when I wanted nothing more on 14th February than to receive a box of chocolates the size of a dustbin lid, and a bunch of red roses so wide that I’d have to rearrange the furniture before squeezing it through the front door. It never happened, but I’m not bitter. Mainly because I realise gestures such as these are just not my husband’s thing. In fact, if he did ever do any of the above (which he wouldn’t), it would simply be because he was expected to (which he isn’t), which, I think you’ll agree, is about as romantic as a mail-merged Valentine’s card from your local MP. Don’t get me wrong - I’m not a wholesale damner of Valentine’s Day. Anything that encourages a bit of love-spreading and togetherness amidst the daily drudge gets a big thumbs up from me. But for it to count, surely you have to decide the moment is right? Rather than in fact wishing you were eating spag bog in front of the telly tonight instead of getting all dressed up for a poncey meal somewhere out...in the cold…at the end of a very long week…just cos Clinton Cards says so. Or is that just me?
Because you know you love each other. It’s in all the little things you do on all the ordinary days of the year when you’re not required to spend twenty quid on a foil-wrapped chocolate heart and stuffed toy to show you really care; like when he puts the hot water bottle on your side of the bed, or you buy him a walnut whip when you dash in to M&S to grab a pair of tights. And perhaps you don’t tell each other everyday that those are the things that really count - perhaps you don’t tell each other at all. But you’re not going to be anymore enlightened by a mass-produced card either, are you? So, here’s my plan – it starts with a blank piece of paper and a pen. I don’t have to be Shakespeare, it doesn’t have to rhyme, it doesn’t even have to be more than a couple of words long if that sums it all up. I might not know the right words straight away – they might come to me on the train, on the phone, in the shower – today, tomorrow, next month, or in a year. But when it happens, I’m going to write the person who makes the little things matter, a love letter. My mum, my best friend, my sister, my husband, my dog – a love letter, isn’t a romantic preserve. I’ll tell them the little things I know only they know about me, and the little things only I know about them. I won’t even need a card - some A4 binder paper, or even a napkin will do. There’s no need to wait until next February the 14th. I’ll just write it all down, leave it by the toaster, slip it under their pillow, hide it inside their bag. Tell them ‘I love you’ without even having to say those three words.
Ps. If you want to read some beautiful letters, look no further than one of my favourite blogs – Letters of Note. My favourites are in fact letters from three fathers to their sons – John Steinbeck on falling in love, Ronald Reagan on getting married and Ted Hughes on living like a mighty river.
Pps. I’m still hopeful a ginormous bar of Toblerone might be on it’s way home from Waterloo this evening - there’s no point in wasting a good excuse for chocolate, now is there?