One of my most cherished parts of my childhood were the Valentine’s traditions that my mom celebrated with my sister and I every year. From the time I was 3 or 4 we have photos of craft parties with all the kids from Palisades Street in Worcester, Massachusetts, covered in pink glitter and hearts. We would spend hours making cards and eating cookies and my mom would read the story of St. Valentine at least once to whichever sticky-fingered neighborhood kids where at our kitchen table at the time.
I am grateful everyday that I have a mom who encouraged me to be creative and messy and fully myself. Please enjoy this photo from 2001 when I was 6 and decided to help my mom paint her bathroom and she didn’t even get a little bit mad.
I have always loved it because even as I got older my mom emphasized the importance of celebrating all love, not just romantic love. I have been lucky to never dread Single’s Awareness Day or worry about my relationship status come February.
Even though I no longer live at home, I try to keep this spirit alive with me, wherever I go. Last year, for reference:
Although I feel that Valentine’s Day is a celebration of all love, I also deeply enjoy the celebration of Galentine’s Day on February 13. If you’re not familiar with the holiday, it was created by fictional character Leslie Knope in season 2, episode 16 of the American political satire Parks and Recreation. In the words of Queen Leslie herself, it is about ladies celebrating ladies.
In honor of Galentine’s Day, my roommates Pien and Jozfien and I went out to dinner at (the fittingly named) Pink Mamma restaurant in Montmartre. We ate sat on in a fourth floor corner booth and toasted to the magic of the internet for bringing us together. We ate the most amazing pizza of my entire life (naan-like crust with pesto, burrata, and pistachios) and they gave me the sweetest Galentine’s Day card.
They had never heard of Parks and Recreation, and it is not available to watch in France on any platform, but I showed the Youtube clips and did my best to keep the spirit of Galentine’s Day alive.
It was a joy for me to share some of my traditions from home with my new friends here.