Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Day is for Family Love by Edye

Today, I'd like to introduce you guys to my neighbor Edye!  

(Here she is with her husband Paul...cute couple, huh!)

Some of you may recognize Edye's name from our FB discussion the other week.  Edye is as full of questions as she is answers.  She has been very generous in teaching and including our family in her family's Jewish traditions and faith.  And we are excited to learn and experience more of that with her.  

Today, Edye will be sharing her thoughts on Valentine's Day with us...Please give Edye a very warm welcome!  (And, as promised, I will announce the WINNER of this week's giveaway at the end of this post...)  Here's Edye...

I remember Valentine’s Day fondly…

The excitement of picking out those special cards for your classmates, how much we looked forward to going to school that day to get our “mail” from the rest of the class…

By far, the best memory of all was created by my Dad. My brother, sister and I would always wake up to a card and a treat left for us on our dressers. My Dad, a big teddy bear, always went out of his way to get us a card and buy us a small token that let us know that we were loved. We knew it all year but it was nice to feel the glow that morning too.

As my world expanded to include my husband I passed on this tradition to him. Although we try to appreciate each other all year, we always make sure to get each other a card and a small treat on Valentine’s Day. Many comment that Valentine’s Day is a “Hallmark holiday” but I don’t agree because I love to make someone else smile and this is just a good excuse to appreciate another person.

It wasn’t until we became part of a synagogue that new questions were raised about the holiday.

As a new stay-at-home mom in Pennsylvania I told my husband we should join the temple. It would help us become part of the small Jewish community and it was also a way for me to gain a social network of other Jewish moms.

We learned that the Rabbi in our new congregation frowned upon “celebrating” St. Valentine’s Day. When I mentioned creating cards in religious school and getting each student a small treat there was awkward silence. I was astonished that it was taken so literal (and again later in the year when it was Halloween…but that’s for another blog another day).

In all the years we had been welcomed with surprises from my Dad we had never once thought of it in a religious context.  I didn’t want to challenge the Rabbi, but I also didn’t want to give up on the idea of creating the same special memories for my children as my Dad had done for me.

I talked it over with my husband, who as he always does, argued both sides of the coin. He showed me that it was OK for us to take a different view and create our own rules in our household without going against our faith.

In our house it’s a love free-for-all not a day to observe a saint!

As my kids have grown I love to go to the store with them and help them pick out the cards they will give out in class. As they get older and this tradition ends, they still come with me to pick out cards for each other and for their Dad.  I also make time on my own to go and pick a special treat for them and find that “perfect” card that expresses how their Dad and I feel about each of them.

I can only hope down the road that they pass on this tradition with their own families and tell their kids how they used to love waking on Valentine’s Day morning.

So what does Valentine's Day mean to you?

Please share your family's V-day traditions below for others to read!

Thank you, Edye!

And thanks to everyone who entered to win the book "Bad Guys of the Book of Mormon" this week. The winner was Courtney Wilson!

(Email me your mailing address, Courtney!)

And thanks to everyone for reading and entering this week!

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Interesting post. This year I sent valentine making materials to my grandchildren to encourage them to make their own. I like valentines and love and family!!1

  2. Well done Edye I loved hearing about your traditions. I feel valentines and halloween is a great family fun holiday. and Valentines is a great excuse to show them that you love them. Actually it has made me think. I wasn't going to do much now my 2 kids are adults. But realise Why Not! I'm going all out lol. sending package too college and leaving treats on the table for Husband and son. Thanks for reminder us about the fun times and special thoughts that count.

  3. Edye, I am proud to call you my friend.  I applaud your ability to balance tricky issues of faith in a loving, kind way.  When you follow your heart and do things in the true spirit of love, it can never be a bad thing.  But then again, you already know that!  Thank you for sharing these traditions and showing us that the special things of life are not diamonds and pearls, but the simple, thoughtful gestures of love that we can demonstrate every day.

    Maribel Ibrahim

  4. I agree with your friend that this is a totally secular holiday for me. In fact, I never even remember that it relates to a Saint.

    I also recall the thrill of getting to school and finding wonderful valentines left in the mailbox sleeves we made earlier int he week and hung from the windows in our classroom. It was so much fun to see who would make you a "special" valentine...


  5.  Thank you for sharing your story. I have always loved Valentine's Day too. We have a big family and individual cards are expensive so I just pick a small card from the same lot my children give to their friends and write them a small note. I think this year I am going to follow your example and bake them each a special treat to go with it. Then we will have a nice family dinner like we do every year. We use this dinner to show the children what it is like when mom and dad go on a date and give them a chance to experience a date like atmosphere so they will know what to do when they are old enough to date.

  6. Christina BartholomewFriday, February 10, 2012

    What a great tradition.  We're not Catholic, so we don't celebrate the holiday in any religious way either.  I think it is a great way to have fun family times together.  My husband's been good about getting Valentines for all of his girls -- we'll have seven daughters once our ninth child is born next Tuesday (yes, a Valentines baby, we hope). 

  7. What a wonderful post! I married my husband on Valentine's Day--not because it was a special holiday to us, but because it was when we had a break while studying at university. But now, Valentine's Day has special signficance to me because of our marriage--the day we began our family. I need to be better about sharing my love with my family on this special day. 

  8. This is the best part about Valentines Day. We should express love to each other more often, but it's great to have a day to do it completely all-out!  Thanks, Edye.  :)

  9. What a great post! Last year I wanted to make some Valentines to send out to our family members who live far away. We are doing it again this year. It is a great holiday to show our loved ones a little extra love! 

  10. now this is very interesting....I guess I never think of it as honoring all the saints named Valentine, either.  I think it's a pretty name and I thought it started way after all those saints were killed.  but how nice of your friend to take her agency and freedoms to enjoy whatever in her own family.  2 of our local schools (public) are celebrating VDay today.  Not on the 14th. I wonder if this makes it less religious. and the library is having an Anti-VDay party on the 13th.  Not ever certain what that's about!

  11. It is always fun to read what others do for different holidays.Thanks to Edye for a great post on Valentines. I loved their tradition. I just wrote a post on my memories of Valentines and etc. My father was just like hers; he was always doing something sweet for Valentines.

  12. We usually have a special dinner for Valentine's day, and decorate the house with different heart crafts we've created.  We don't worship St. Valentine either, but we usually read at least one book about him, because he was an amazing advocate for the family and marriage, and I want my little ones to understand that you don't have be from the same religion to share values.  I want all the good roles models I can get for them.  :)

  13.  Edye, what a wonderful post! I've never really thought about the origins of Valentine's day. To me Valentine's has always been a day of candy, flowers and love and the day after my birthday! My mother always played cupid and left each of us kids a small heart box of candy at our place at the dining room table and I've carried that tradition on with my family. The past 5 years I have also been swapping handmade Valentine cards and ornaments with online friends and I like to gift my non-online friends with little treats as well. Isn't it wonderful to have such fond and loving memories to carry with us and to pass on to the next generation.

    Cathy ♥

  14. All the kids should get valentine's! Boys and Girls alike I think. Why not show all your kids your special feelings. Good luck with the next one coming - I hope it is a Valentine's Baby - what a special gift!