As our calendars turn to February, many of us are reminded: V-Day is near.
Yep, Valentine’s Day. A day of bliss that a lot of us, coupled or single, young or old, dread – and not necessarily because we have no one to celebrate us, or vice versa, in a courtly way, as the day prescribes.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m all about showing love for each other, no matter the relationship, in whatever love language is ours. It’s the best thing in life, to give love and receive it in return. Even unrequited love has its own value, considering what it reveals about us and others.
But recall the dread of passing boxed-Valentines to classmates? Or, remember roaming middle school halls without flowers, cards and candy?
Sure, flowers look and smell pretty, but they leave a sobering message when they wither and die. And those red boxes of candy offer only a taste-test, at best. Ever seen an empty one? Me either.
The dread of Valentine’s Day is avoidable. Rather than focus on the courtly love the day symbolizes, find ways to celebrate other important relationships in your life. Get excited about doing something special for yourself. Or, commit a random act of kindness for someone else.
In Midtown, the focus is family – and fun.
A family who dances …
Joel Wiggins’ Men Standing in the Gap organization will host its ninth annual Triangle Daddy-Daughter Dance and its second Mother-Son Valentine’s Ball.
For the first time, it all goes down at the same time and place in separate ballrooms on Saturday, Feb. 7, at the North Raleigh Hilton – Midtown.
“The vision has always been to support the family and create memories, especially for parents with their children,” said Wiggins, who recently moved from Raleigh to Dallas to start mPowerdigm Group build men, uplift communities and enhance families.
On Saturday, fathers and daughters of all ages and backgrounds will celebrate and strengthen the father-daughter bond, recognizing “how important it is to a little girl’s self-esteem for a dad to invest in his daughter,” Wiggins said.
About 800 are expected to fill the father-daughter ballroom, while about 400 mothers and sons are expected to party next door.
Little girls without a dad will be escorted by Men Standing in the Gap volunteers who will treat them to admission, a new dress and shoes, salon treatment and flowers.
“My passion is men understanding their roles in the home and in the community,” Wiggins said. “One way we can do that is by simply bringing them out to do things with their family that make family more enjoyable and make memories.”
Paul Grass, the interim youth minister at Church of the Nativity, recalled a time at the University of Alabama when he and his friends wanted to celebrate on Valentine’s Day – minus the sappiness and pressure to “do good” by a sweetheart or be doomed to sweetheartless-ville.
To take the pressure off his Episcopal church youth group of 40 tweens and teens, Grass has passed on the solution he and his friends settled on: Another Halloween Party.
“Valentine’s Day can be really awkward for single people,” Grass said, noting the pressure begins long before our co-ed years. “And in middle school (it) is really, really awkward.
“Everyone likes Halloween. Nobody likes Valentine’s Day.”
On Feb. 14, the group will host a Valloween Party with costumes and candy, music and food, and black, orange and pink decorations. Hideous, perhaps, but fun.
The treat of the night: Aorta-shaped cookies – yes, like our real hearts – will replace traditional heart-shaped boxes of candy.
And there will be a costume contest for the best, pinkest and scariest get-ups. The corniest costume likely will win, too.
“The girls are getting ready for the pinkest costume, and the boys are going for the scariest,” Grass said. “I think it’s going to be a good time.”