Advocating for Valentine’s Day

Every year I walk through isles of Target browsing the seasonal changes. And every year the excitement builds with each passing day for the Valentine’s Day displays to go up. It starts with the slashed prices of Cordial Cherry Hershey Kisses. I usually pick up a few bags to hold me over a few months. And it ends with Conversation Hearts being available at every turn. For me, this excitement doesn’t end with candy. Valentine’s Day is simply a celebration of LOVE. I have never thought of it as a holiday exclusively for coupled people. In fact, some of my favorite Valentine’s Day memories don’t even include a significant other.

I won’t lie, I’m a taker on Valentine’s Day. My normal celebratory preparation begins with me alerting a close friend (or my mom) that Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. I also impress upon them that Valentine’s Day is of extreme significance for me. In all honesty, it is a chance for me to be as dramatic as I can possibly be and guilt someone into getting me a cute card. Now I know what you must be thinking, “just buy the card yourself…” but that would take away all the fun. I get the most enjoyment out of this holiday during the days leading up to it. By February 13 I have made at least five people uncomfortable by simply dropping hints about my love for Valentine’s Day. I don’t know what it is for some people, even hearing the word “Valentine” sends them right off the edge. Complaint after complaint about a holiday meant to express and celebrate all things love.

While some complain that Valentine’s Day is too commercialized and how you should be loving the special people in your life all the time, I’m of the opinion that if there were 10 more holidays celebrating love there shouldn’t be an issue. That’s a little dramatic but you know what I mean. Valentine’s Day is a holiday meant to be celebrated however you’d like. And if you don’t like it, please spare us all your complaints and pretend it’s just another day. If you love Valentine’s Day as much as I do, please go on making a huge deal about it. Not because we need another made up holiday, but because it’s fun to make a big deal about things that don’t matter.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Sistering in Adulthood.

Having a sister is truly one of the biggest blessings you could experience in life. Whether you have a large age gap or are only a few months a part, there is an unspeakable bond that is born when you have a sister. Someone that understands the inner workings of the family, or even just someone to laugh about old memories with. I have found that relationship challenges come with the aging process in with sisters. Around the age of 20, you may begin to realize that your sister is just another person on an independent journey. A journey to find herself and enjoy her own life. She, just like you, is trying desperately to navigate life and be taken seriously. When you lived under the same roof, you watched your parents lovingly correct her and when she pushed the limits, you watch the hammer come down. The growth that you experienced outside of the family home may have been seen as pushback from the status quo. The love you have for your sister never leaves, it just evolves. The complexity of the changing relationship is something that can become overwhelming if you let it.

A sister is, at times, a mirror. When you fight you immediately go back to your childhood roles. After a while though, you don’t want to be seen as that person anymore. You are now an adult with new tools to settle petty disputes. You also quickly realize that your sister is just girl trying to figure things out. She is a person that you can no longer try to influence. You have to leave her to make her own decisions. Your old methods of communicating with your sister may need to be reevaluated. At this point in your life you are able to choose if you even want to continue a relationship with her. I may be the only one, but over the past few years I’ve found myself thinking, “would I even be friends with this girl if we weren’t sisters?” I want the answer to be yes so desperately. I mean who doesn’t want a best friend that shares the same childhood as you? Unfortunately, that may be a little bit unrealistic. You have to now switch your perspective. Ask yourself the same questions you would if this was a girl you met while out shopping or at a local brewery. Does she value this friendship? Do we have common interests? Does she respect me? Can we make time for each other?

It is difficult to ask these questions because a lot of us believe our family members get a pass for poor treatment. Just because they are your sibling doesn’t mean they get a pass for their behavior. Talk to them about it. Address the issues head on. And if you can’t resolve it, reevaluate their position in your life. Love yourself enough to set clear boundaries. It will be difficult be it can be done. You will always love your sibling, but remember to love yourself more.