February often is not my favorite month. I don’t care for the mid-winter temperature ups and downs. And I feel like Valentine’s Day is an expectation I cannot meet. Really. 

I am not great at the warm and fuzzy hearts and flowers holiday. I wish I were. 

I mean, I see the draw. I like love. I like flowers and feelings. I just don’t show that a lot in public. It’s not my comfort zone. 

I do love building Valentine boxes with the kiddos. And in this month’s WINC, our Majestic Mama Andrea Champlin shares fun DIY cards for the whole family to share.

I do like walking into a florist the week of and seeing all the creative and beautiful things being designed for lovers. I even like the idea of jewelry. Sentimentally, I totally get it. 

But I also have some incredible memories of Valentine’s Day, that although funny and heartwarming, kind of make me cringe. 

Like the time in kindergarten when we made peanut butter and jelly heart-shaped sandwiches in class. There were turkey and cheese options for those with allergies and such, but because I was THAT kid, I made mine with jelly and cheese. The ride home in Dad’s Toyota truck became a scene from a really bad version of The Exorcist. Grape jelly and cheese. … I will just leave that there.

Or the time I had strep throat in junior high and the boy I liked had his MOM drive him to my house with an ice cream cake. My parents gushed and gushed. I felt awful and looked appropriately awful. Then I ate my Valentine’s cake with my parents. I mean, in a teenager’s view of “awkward” that was catastrophic.

Or the time my high school boyfriend was late to first period on Valentine’s Day and burst through the door of my literature class with a giant heart-shaped box of candy. He was a theater student, so you might get his joy of a big production. Only that box was empty. Little did he know, he was dropping caramel chocolates through the halls of our small high school all the way to the classroom. Awkward. We were both assigned to cleaning up the smashed candy for the rest of the day. 

Or the time the same boyfriend decided to “propose” – like down on one knee and everything – at a fancy restaurant where he had made reservations. He was proposing to PROM, but the whole of the patrons were clapping and oohing and I was mortified. We broke up on prom night by the way. … Sad story. 

Living on campus during my freshman year of college, I was minding my OWN business on Valentine’s Day when my friend double-booked her dates. Second fella showed up with roses, and I was tribute. I had to walk downstairs and explain to that poor boy she had already run off on another date. He was so confused. I felt so bad. 

My husband and I avoid the day, usually. … He is the kind to agree to “no gifts” and shows up with some incredible thing. … Then I just stand there like Forrest Gump with hands on my hips -- “I know what love is. …”

So I cannot seem to “win” the day. It has always eluded me. But I guess, if I am looking at everything in my New Year’s perspective, as a storyteller, I have some Valentine’s Day stories to tell. That’s a happy thing. 

This month in WINC, we applaud the testament to lovers and friends. Our cover story by Melissa Gates examines three love stories, told over time, and we’re so proud to tell them! 

I chose this photo of my children to honor this month. They love without condition and when I see them loving each other every day, my heart is full and the mission is complete. Love one another any time, anywhere, any month, any day. Take stock in those moments and memories.

I leave readers, no matter their views on Valentine’s, with this from The Beatles: “For lovers and friends I still can recall, some are dead and some are living. In my life, I’ve loved them all.”