Letters of love

Graphic by Penelope Taylor

Graphic by Penelope Taylor


With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I find myself wondering how to spend it. Lube and candy hearts on the bedside table, obviously. But is there more than that? Valentine’s Day can be divisive. You’re in love, or you’re not. You have plans, or you don’t. In years past, I’ve focused mostly on these things, and my tireless search for a classic yet sizzling red dress. But maybe it’s cool to recognize different kinds of love in your life, romantic and otherwise, on this day.

I can tell my Nana that I love the way she offers me an omelet when I come over, no matter the time of day. That they are flawless, buttery and perfectly round. I love how she serves it to me on the plastic plates from my childhood because they’re just the right size. I love knowing my seat at her table. I love how with her at the head of the table and me on her left, we’ve loved for 21 years. I love her leopard pants and blue eyeliner. I admire her calm kindness, poise and gin martini recipe.

I’ll tell my dad I love the many nicknames he’s given me. I love our time in the mountains and on boats, and appreciate that he has shared all of his happy places with me. I love how he edits my cover letters and resumes, no-nonsense. I love how he listens to me and challenges me and picks up when I call.

To my mom I’ll say I love how her heart is as big as her mouth and her boobs. How she loves and gives every day. How she constantly works to better herself and expand her world. I love how she gets tipsy off two glasses of wine and drops into a split mid-escalator ride at the airport. I love how she has never told me who I am, instead letting me tell her. I love her for loving me despite and because of my habits and my big mouth.

I will tell my boyfriend I love the way he slips hotel toiletries in my bag, and how he drinks beer in the shower. I love how he silently includes the people he loves in his everyday thoughts and actions. I love his sense of humor. I appreciate his patience. I love how he takes off my makeup at the end of a long night, knowing I’d be pissed if I slept in foundation. I love the scar on his cheek and his large warm arms. Plus more, written in a private letter because #romance.

Who will you send love to this year? Tell them why they make your days better. Send them a few words, because nobody wants a teddy bear. And Happy Valentine’s Day MHN readers, I love you for reading.