Ahh, Valentine’s Day. A day dedicated to love and romance.
Actually (and I doubt I'm alone in this), I used to hate the whole concept. Cosy couples making a fuss of each other - could there be a crueler way to exclude those who perhaps hadn't met the right person, or had recently experienced a break-up?
Even in the days of newly-wed bliss I maintained my scornful attitude, however now (many years later), I find special days like these on the calendar hold a newfound significance. As time passes, we often become lost in the myriad of small daily tasks and slide into comfortable routines. Of course we want our loved ones to know we care, but if we don't make a firm decision on what we'd like to do for them and when we'll follow through on our plan, we can easily find months (or heaven forbid, years), have slipped by without taking deliberate action. Whilst many couples are great at creating opportunities to make their partner feel special with a quick note, small gifts 'just because', or setting up a regular 'date night', others of us sometimes need a bit more reminding! As Valentine’s Day rolls around once more, it serves as a wonderful reminder that we have some great people in our lives. The 14th of February gives us the nudge we need to plan quality time with our partners, or give them the heartfelt gift we'd intended to share but never quite got to organising. It's as if having that dedicated day pushes us out of our comfort zone; allowing daily tasks which often overcrowd our mind to give way to the spirit of adventure, the sense that 'anything can happen', which is so tangible in new relationships but can slip away from us over time.
As hand-crafters, we're so fortunate to have the skills to create truly meaningful gifts from the heart. The hours we spend handling every inch of the yarn we work into gifts infuses the finished piece with a beauty in the eyes of the receiver far beyond mere aesthetics. I fondly remember my first appalling attempt at knitting a beanie for my husband. I chose a beautiful grey-flecked shade of Inca for the project, and spent many nights (yes, I was that slow) working away at it in front of the television. When finally it was complete, the beanie was speckled with too-tight and too-loose stitches ('texture' I called it), and the top had a strange bump on one side where I'd mucked up the decrease. But examining all these flaws gave us a good laugh together, and I never saw him outdoors without it… at least until my skills improved and I could offer him a somewhat less eccentric head covering!
It's so important we don’t let these special occasions slide, not only in our relationships but also with family and friends. Be grateful for the amazing people who accompany us on life’s journey, and show them regularly how much they mean to you. Valentine’s Day, anniversaries and birthdays can act as post-it notes; little reminders on our busy ‘To Do’ lists that we need to make time for these wonderful people, and share with them the love and appreciation that’s so obvious to us in our own hearts, but perhaps less apparent to them. In the words of William Arthur Ward, “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it”. As a committed introvert, I’m often guilty of feeling thankful, yet allowing my discomfort at sharing my feelings prevent me from expressing it.
This Valentine’s Day, I’m going to take heed of the reminder, and make sure I give that gift away.
© Sharon Prentice
Knitting Yarns by Mail 2017