I don't know why we started the tradition, no idea where the idea came from, but from when our kids were very little they were our Valentine's. When I married CS, I brought a child with me, so our family started with three; within two years there were five of us. CS and I never had those years of just the two of us, quiet candlelit dinners, etc. Rather, we started out in the eye of the tornado.
From the start our girls were his Valentine, and our son was mine. We bought them each gifts, whether it was candy and chocolate or matchbox cars and video games. We set the dining room table all fancy, which means we used a tablecloth, more silverware than they knew what to do with, china, wine glasses that were filled with soda pop, candles and we all dressed up. Part of our thinking was that they had a lot of proms, interview lunches, and who knew what else ahead of them, and they needed to know what fork to use when there was more than one; part of it was that they would feel treasured by someone, before they found the one they would treasure for life.
Those years are behind us, have been for over a decade. CS and I celebrate the day now, with cards in red envelopes waiting by the coffee pot, and a 'calories-be-damned' meal at the end of the day. We never go out - home is so much nicer! We sit home, enjoying each other's company, but also enjoying knowing our kids are celebrating their kids. The Daddy's are buying chocolate and flowers, and the boys are getting match box cars and video games; they are having a special dinner, wherever they have it, and the kids are going to bed knowing they are treasured by someone, before they find the one they will treasure for life.
Not only do I not remember my father and mother ever celebrating anything about their life, whether it was Valentine's Day or an anniversary, the six of us kids weren't celebrated either. I suspect most families were that way back then. When I see Daddy and Daughter dances, or donuts, when I see Mommy and me dates with their little boys, I am thankful to see it becoming common practice today. What was lacking when I was growing up is now washing over our little family tree, from the main branches, to the smaller ones.
Anyone can get or give a dozen red roses once a year. Knowing our granddaughters and grandsons will go to bed tonight, not only feeling loved, but being told so by their parents - that's a priceless gift.
And not only will it make your kids feel great today, when they have lunch with the college president, or the CEO of the company, they'll be grateful you taught them to use a cloth napkin and choose which fork to pick up first.