“I love you,” we say to our beloveds on this day – and hopefully every other day as well.
When the long-stemmed roses, the heart-shaped chocolates, the gimmicky teddy bears and the Hallmark declarations are stripped from the sentiment of February 14, St Valentine’s Day, we are left with that three-word utterance.
I love you.
I hope you feel loved today. Not all of us will be in a position to celebrate the romantic variety of love that St Valentine elevated all those years ago in third century Rome, but there is a question I’d like to ask you, wherever you’re at…
How many “I love you”s brought you to this point?
How many “I love you”s have been spoken over your life and helped you to be all you are today?
The “I love you” of friends who have encouraged you in your challenges and endeavours, arming you with confidence for what is ahead.
The “I love you” of parents and grandparents, biological or otherwise, who have invested in you with their time, resources and heart-space to see you develop and learn, to mature into independence.
The “I love” you of teachers and mentors who came alongside you, helping you nurture interests, dreams and passions.
The “I love you” of siblings who rough ‘n’ tumbled with you, squealed and laughed with you and whose bond is one of blood; undeniably robust.
And the “I love you” of your mother.
She believed in you before others knew you existed, she held you before others could touch you, she sustained you before others could see you. Her “yes” to your existence was your first “I love you”. Her “I love you”s began in the womb and have echoed out through your life, because without that first articulation of what has become a throw-away line, you wouldn’t be here.
You wouldn’t have the capacity to impart your own “I love you”s.
She loved your heart that began its rhythmic drum from four weeks, your tiny fingers, your ultrasound face, your sharp kicks against her taught tummy, your wriggling and rolling. All before you were seen.
This was an “I love you” that yielded countless more throughout your lifetime and endowed you with the ability to give the same.
I love you, and I love you, and I love you.
Happy Valentine’s Day!