Love in the time of pizza.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m the last person (that’s me, the one with the side ponytail) over the age of 7 in the Western Hemisphere who still enjoys Valentine’s Day. And it’s kinda starting to grate my nerves, to tell you the truth.

Look, we’ve all been heartbroken and disappointed and spent more Valentine’s Days alone than with someone. But it’s really not worth getting your panties in a twist over and promoting all this anti-Valentine’s Day propaganda.

Or if you’re going to hate on it, don’t subject the rest of us to it. A sorority sister of mine, Emily, had the right idea. As far as I know, she had no major objections to the holiday or hearing any of her other sorority sisters’ plans, just as long as everybody understood that, regardless of whether she was single or attached, there was one Valentine’s Day tradition she never missed: Watching The Silence of the Lambs on VHS.

But cannibalism aside, I say forget the nebulous origins of the holiday and its over-commercialization. What person (or woman, anyway) doesn’t love a reason to celebrate love and friends and flowers and the color pink? You’re never too old for that stuff. Two years ago, my sister Allison and I — then 28 and 23 — sat in her living room making handmade valentines for her 6-month-old daughter, her husband, our brother, our parents, my co-workers, each other, etc., etc.

I want to thank my mom, Anne, for instilling an appreciation for the holiday early on. My earliest memory of Valentine’s Day, besides the exciting trip to the grocery store to pick out valentines to hand out to my classmates, was making a homemade heart-shaped pizza with my brother (the squinter) and sister (the one with the really nice teeth).

I don’t know how the tradition got started or why we ever stopped doing it, but the more I looked at this picture and thought about what was going on in my mom’s life when it was taken, the more deeply appreciative I am of her commitment to making sure all of us kids felt loved / wore the same shade of red on Valentine’s Day.

In the mid ’80s, when the pizza photograph was taken, my mom was a lonely housewife in Davenport, Ia. My dad, Wayne, loved her, but he was more preoccupied with his career than spending time at home. Anne probably didn’t believe in love very much anymore, but I never would have known because my mom went out of her way to keep silly little traditions, like the heart-shaped pizza, alive.

A few years after the pizza photo was taken, things changed dramatically for my parents. They will tell you that God is responsible for saving their marriage, and I’ve seen the proof of that claim for the past 20 years. They’ve been married for 32 years and are more in love than ever now. They go snorkeling together and take trips and do all that stuff that we make fun of our parents for when they get to that age but really, we love it, because not everybody’s parents stay together long enough for that to happen.

I think it’s a testament to my mom’s strength of character that, in even one of the darkest times of her life, she still found a reason to spread love (through the best medium ever, pizza!) and celebrate that silly little holiday we know as Valentine’s Day.

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5 Responses to “Love in the time of pizza.”

  1. Jeremy Says:

    awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  2. Mom Says:

    Your sweet comments are the best Valentine’s Day gift I have ever received. I love you, and thank you from the bottom of my heart-shaped-pizza heart.

  3. theyellowdesk Says:

    Thanks for making me cry. Dork.

  4. Nicole Morgan Says:

    Love this!! Love your family! I have learned more about love from your family than anyone else!
    Happy Valentines Day E. Love ya!

  5. Jessi Says:

    My Grandma Lou used to always say, “The love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay. Love isn’t love til you give it away.” Thank you for reminding us that Valentine’s day isn’t just about romantic love. It’s about making the people in our lives feel special even when we don’t. It’s about being selfless and kind and making homemade, heart-shaped pizzas! It’s those little things that mean the most.

    I love you, Elizabeth. You make me smile.
    Happy Valentine’s day!

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