February is a short month at 28 days, and it puts us that much closer to March. It can be dreary, though, as we tire of cold weather and wait, sometimes impatiently, for the start of spring. If there’s snow and ice, the month seems to drag by slowly.
There are things I like about February, however, and not just the fact that my husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary this time of year. (I really preferred a Halloween wedding, but that’s a whole other story. Pumpkins and autumn leaves yielded ground to hearts and flowers, and it all worked out fine.)
We also celebrate Valentine’s Day, a holiday that brings color and gives purpose and cheer to the month. It is a month for love, and it need not just be romantic love that we pay tribute to during this season, but other kinds as well.
Some of the simplest expressions of affection at Valentine’s hold the best memories. I enjoyed exchanging those little Valentine greetings with small matching envelopes, sold in bags or boxes of multiples, when I was a child in elementary school. I even remember making construction paper folders and decorating them to hold this assortment of cards that would be distributed in the classroom.
I also liked the heart-shaped boxes of candy for sale in drugstores everywhere. Long before I developed a taste for Godiva, I indulged in the pleasure of a box of Russell Stover chocolates. The fruit-flavored creams coated in milk and dark chocolate were my favorites, especially the orange ones.
Our compassion and empathy for others that we demonstrate as counselors can be used in big ways, but no less importantly, in small ones, too. So why not present a valentine to someone you think could use one this year? Someone who may not be expecting it, but will welcome it as a pleasant surprise. Store-bought or handmade, it doesn’t matter, as it’s the thought that counts. (Extra points for handmade, though.) It could be somebody who has experienced a loss or is going through a hard time. Maybe somebody who is alone and isn’t likely to get a valentine if you don’t give them one.
Hope Yancey is a counselor and freelance writer living in Charlotte, North Carolina