A few Valentine's Day thoughts from your therapist friend:
Growing up, my mom and dad never ever ever pushed having a boyfriend at me and my sister. Not when we were very young, not in high school, never. We didn't have intense rules against it or anything (this unfortunately often has the opposite of it's intended effect). It just wasn't a focus at our house.
This was a real gift to me, because it helped me grow up knowing that I didn't need another person to affirm my worth.
It seems like a lot of girls start hating Valentine's Day in high school, and though they might not admit it, it's because it's hard to feel like you're missing out on something other people have. My mom did such a good job of making Valentine's Day a simple, fun day about reminding us of how much she and my dad loved us. They still do!
I never had a boyfriend on Valentine's Day until I was 22 years old. And it never even occurred to me that I was missing out on something. Because I wasn't.
In my work, I see Valentine's Day be truly tough on a lot of people (all ages--very young to full grown!). It can be a day full of feeling inadequate and having unmet hopes and expectations.
Our words and actions as parents (and grandparents, aunts, teachers, and friends) have such a great impact on how kids see this day, but more importantly, on how they see themselves. I hope Will and I can treat Valentine's Day like a fun day of reminding Lily of how much she is loved and valued. Not because of what she does or who she's with, but because of who she is.