We have nothing scheduled this year, but in some of the past years, my single friends and I have gone out around Valentine’s day. Just for the heck of it. In college, Anna and I would watch a movie on Valentine’s day itself. Even though we went to different schools, it always worked out that we didn’t have classes on that day – Teachers Day at Miriam and University Fair at UP. One year, we watched ‘Romeo + Juliet” and were dumbfounded a group of highschoolers expressed their surprise and dismay over Romeo’s death. Hello! 😮 They’re in high school (and they didn’t look like freshmen), they must know at least the gist of Romeo and Juliet already. It’s like some of the folks asking for part two of Titanic. That was a funny Valentine for me.

Last year, me and my officemate decided to have a contest. On our way home, we had to count the number of girls with flowers. Flowers held by their escorts count. The one with the most number wins. I think I won. In fairness to her, I dropped by a mall first instead of heading home right away. Hey, I didn’t do it deliberately. I just had a craving for bread, and I wanted to buy wine for my dad – and for me too. 😉

This year, who knows? Maybe my own ‘Big’ will just be around the corner. Otherwise, it’s just any other day. I’m older and wiser now and no longer fully subscribe to the idea of extra romance on Valentine’s day. Why only that day? Isn’t a romantic gesture all the more that when it’s given and received on unexpected and ordinary moments? The most ‘kilig’ moments of my life never happened on a special occasion, much less Valentine’s day. One happened as we were unloading bags outside a hotel. Another while I was manning a ticket sales table. And these weren’t big gestures, just very simple ones that touched me deeply.

Just this morning, I was witness to another kind of love that just made me smile. At Mass, I was seated beside a father and his two young sons. They immediately caught my attention when they sat beside me. The dad had a kiddie backpack on him. He sat between his two kids. Throughout the Mass, he had his arms around his sons most of the time. The younger one was usually restless when standing and would sometimes step on the kneeler. The dad would then gently explain to him that it’s not right to step on kneelers. The boy would immediately obey. Such a contrast to the mom and little girl that sat beside me last week. The little girl was so restless and kept on inadvertently hitting me or the lady in front of us. The mom spoke harshly to her and slapped her arms every time she did that. It had no effect whatsoever. Anyways, back to the dad and his sons. When the announcement about the audition for the Parish senakulo was being read, he whispered to his son that he could audition for that since he can sing. His son said yes, but he couldn’t dance. The dad then told him that he can also act aside from singing, so why not? That was a very simple conversation, and they were a simple family, but there was just something heartwarming about them. All the time I kept wondering where the mom was. Was she simply sick so she stayed home? Was she separated from her husband? Or was the dad a widower? I admit that such was my curiosity that I looked for a wedding ring. There was none. Well, whatever the deal with the mom is, to me the dad and his sons are perfect examples of other great kinds of love that’s overshadowed by an overly romanticized Valentine’s.