Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How to Love Without Cruelty This Valentine's Day

My husband has come so far in so many ways since I've been in his life. God, that sounds awful, doesn't it?! Still. It is true.

He used to be quite cynical even in the face of reason and evidence. Ouch. He used to feel protective of the poor victimized giant corporations; as a worker of a big corporation, he felt the silly lawsuits that would occasionally come up were the fault of the consumer and from that feeling about his own company he extrapolated it to ALL corporations...

He also felt cynicism about what he felt were Hallmark holidays. You know--Sweetest Day (invented within our lifetime), Grandparents day and...Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day. He felt it was a Hallmark holiday. Noooooo. It's not! He felt insulted by the idea of there being a proscribed day when he should tell me that he loves me. That's up to him, and he told me often, really. And, he gave me foot rubs. And, he made me laugh uproariously.

I didn't know his feelings about it when I was eagerly awaiting his arrival home to his apartment on our first Valentine's Day together. So imagine my profound disappointment and shock when he not only forgot to get me anything, he called me from work and told me with a derisive laugh that it's a "Hallmark holiday!!" "No. It. Is. Not!!!!" Panicked, he came home where I was waiting with gifts aplenty all thoughtfully bought and wrapped, after stopping at a gas station where he bought me the only thing that he felt could convey his love for me on such short notice. That's right, a package of Twinkies with a bonus one thrown in. Ah. Love was in the air, I tell ya.

He's a little bit different now. And, any way it doesn't matter. I know he loves me and I love him. Done and done.

These days no one gets twinkies around here--my children have never even tried them, and they don't know what they are. I don't eat them, certainly. Love is conveyed in other ways. No longer will a package of chemical/hydrogenated oil/sugar/corn syrup/cream filled sponge cake serve to transmit my husband's undying eternal love to me. No. That won't do. But, I don't like cliches either. A dozen roses? Really?? Especially now that I know the circumstances of how some flowers are grown and harvested.

Read this:


Tis that time of year when more than 20 million Americans are buying sweets and flowers for their loved ones on Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, these tokens of love aren't as sweet or pure as they may appear. Over 40 percent of the world's conventional chocolate (i.e. non-organic and non-Fair Trade) comes from Africa's Ivory Coast, where the International Labor Organization and US State Department have reported widespread instances of child slavery. Meanwhile, commercial flowers, most of which are produced in countries such as Colombia, are the most toxic and heavily sprayed agricultural crops on Earth. In order for you to deliver your bouquet to your beauty, poorly paid workers in Third World countries put in up to 18 hour work days for poverty wages during peak flower buying times such as Valentine's Day. But don't let the bad news squelch your Valentine's plans. Show your love by choosing Fair Trade and organic flowers and chocolate for your Valentine's Day gifts. Check out OCA's Buying Guide, watch an entertaining flash movie and take action against the 5 major chocolate and flower corporations:
http://www.organicc onsumers. org/valentines/

Do we have to tell each other that we love each other in ways that cause such extreme suffering around the world? I don't think we do. I think we can all be creative and original and real with one another and find ways that touch our partner's heart and help them feel our love.

This Valentine's Day, dial it up people! Knock your partners socks off! Curl their toes! Find some new ways to let them know how profoundly they've touched your life, that you love them, and that you don't know where you'd be without them.

Husband, God only knows what I'd be without you.

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