Love, the Big Daddy Remix – Why Sarah Was Blogging instead of *ahem* on Valentine’s Day, Part Last

happy birthday, daddy. love, sarah
** Today is Dad’s birthday, and rather than suffering through the cycles of beautifully painful anguish and torment that normally unravel in the tiny 4′ by 4′ space that is my blogging “office” when I try to compose something, especially if it’s supposed to be something “nice,” I am re-publishing a portion of what I wrote last year about Valentine’s Day, love, and my Dad. **

Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean much to me because it has always been, and always will be, a manufactured holiday that has been completely stripped of all of its original significance. The day is supposed to be dedicated to celebrating love and romance, but do people really know the history behind the day that is named after St. Valentine? Do they know that there are, in fact, numerous unconfirmable legends about Valentine and how and why he was martyred?

I understand that in this hyper-capitalistic world we live in today, there isn’t a single holiday that hasn’t been a victim of utter commercialization. However, Valentine’s Day seems to be the most profitable, snapping up the most revenue for a saint who has no more meaning than say, St. Dichu.

Dichu was a swineherd (like a cowboy, but for pigs!) in Ireland. How come we can’t celebrate St. Dichu’s Day by exchanging gifts of bacon and asking one another “Will you be my Dichu?” We can. I would posit that bacon, prosciutto, and pork chops have the same appeal, if not more, as a flimsy index card with a heart scribbled on it, roses that will wilt in thre days, and cheap chocolate that tastes like ash. The point is that because there is nothing stopping us from celebrating any of these 10,000+ saints, and because St. Valentine is no more important that St. Dichu, we are spending exorbitant amounts of money on ridiculous gifts that will end up on the dollar table at your garage next summer just to prove to someone you love him or her. It’s meaningless.

But perhaps the reason that St. Valentine’s Day has no meaning to me is that there is a far more important day in February. My Dad’s birthday is two days after Valentine’s Day, and I learned much more about love from my Dad than I ever did from a tiny chalky heart with an artificial “I {heart} U!” stamped into it.

Love is leaving your family and every comfort and luxury you’ve ever known in life to give your children a better opportunity in America.

Love is commuting to work an hour and a 45 minutes each way so that your children can go to school in the best district.

Love is telling your children what to do.

Love is showing them how to do it.

Love is teaching your children respect by respecting their mother.

Love is showing up for everything, even when she’s too embarrassed to acknowledge you’re there.

Love is being proud of your daughter for coming in first. Or second. Or third. (But not last. That would foster underachievement.)

Love is waiting up all night to make sure your daughter gets home safely, and sneaking upstairs before she walks through the door, even if that means you only get two hours of sleep.

Love is fighting with your daughter and yelling and screaming no matter how much it hurts you, until she finally learns to stand up for herself.

Love is being humble enough to cry in front of your children when their grandfather passes away.

Love is trusting your daughter enough to make her own decisions, even if they’re the wrong decisions.

Love is biting your tongue from saying “I told you so.”

Love is expecting nothing in return. Ever.

Happy Birthday, Daddy.

We don’t deserve the sacrifices you made for us. We love you. You will always be our King of Hearts.

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  • Erielle

    That was the first time a blog ever made me cry! That was beautiful.

  • eugene

    I’m sure a lot of this applies to families universally, but having immigrant parents (2nd generation Korean here), I can very much relate to this post. I wasn’t going to comment on it when I first read it, but was just perusing it again and though “Sarah really nailed this one on the head” so comment I did (I do(?)). (Damn, nested parentheticals to any degree are one of my WORST writing habits, as all my friends can attest to).

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