Any Hallmark aisle, Zales commercial, or Facebook newsfeed will tell you that Valentine’s Day is for lovers. But even for those of us still searching for our beshert—our lives overflow with love.
Psychology experts agree that one of the biggest indicators of happiness is strong connections of any kind with one another.If that's the litmus test, then I’m one happy lady.
So here’s to my many valentines.
Happy Valentine’s Day…
To my old college roommate who would scour Chicago with me in search of the city’s best pad thai, who shares my 10.5 shoe size, and whose daughters call me “Aunt Cindy.”
To my parents (together), who want more than anything for their children’s lives to be filled with joy—because that’s the definition of being great parents.
To my older sister, who I’ve always idolized and looked at as the “Arthur Fonzarelli” of siblings—so cool—and yet she’d do anything in the world for her annoying little sister.
To my late Grandma Tessie—the ultimate nurturer—who made the best salmon patties, and who upon every visit to her apartment would hand her grandchildren a black comb, pink footy socks, a shower cap, and Luden’s Wild Cherry Cough Drops, the sum of which could fix any wrong.
To my dad, who I’m lucky was the first man in my life and has been there for me for every day since—and who makes the world’s best Trivial Pursuit teammate, knowledgeable about all subjects, from biology to geopolitics to Sylvester Stallone movies.
To my guy friend in Colorado, who always manages to sense when I’m having a bad day from hundreds of miles away, and send me an uplifting text, paired with the perfect emoji, to turn my mood around.
To my three little nephews, who make me happy every time they smile, sneeze, laugh, dance tell me a joke with no punch line, and find magic in the mundane things the rest of us take for granted like the El train, the produce aisle at the grocery store, or even dirt.
To my loving, hilarious Long Island-based grandparents, married 68 years. When I recently asked them their secret to a happy marriage, my grandpa replied, “Don’t go to bed angry,” and without missing a beat, my grandma chimed in with, “and only go to bed with each other.”
To my childhood best friend who I first met while treading water in the JCC swimming pool the summer before kindergarten.
To my longtime Chicago friend, who I was introduced to because we were both working and living in the same building, and didn’t know it. She makes me feel like I have family in Chicago, even though mine live out of town.
To my newest Chicago friend, who asked me out on a “girl date” after meeting me in person for two minutes at a Passover break-fast; we clicked so fast you’d think we’ve known each other 10 years, not 10 months.
To my mom, who’ll sing Yiddish folk songs to her grandsons for hours on end if it will make them smile, who has taught me to always join in a hora at any simcha, and insists that labor with me—a 9 pound 11 ounce bundle of joy—“wasn’t really that bad.”
To the family who I grew up across the street from, and spent as much time in their house as I did my own—sharing Shabbat dinners, competing in Super Mario Brothers tournaments, and playing kickball in the backyard. Jewish Canadian transplants, their sensibility matched ours to a tee. We were related not by blood, but by love.
Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. Hope all your days are filled with love.