Doing It for Ourselves

I’m just about to settle in and write all day–tough the day before Valentine’s Day because I want to go card shopping and buy some little gifts and wrap them in pretty red and pink paper for tomorrow night’s family dinner. As my long time readers know, I love Valentine’s Day… love the entire month of February. In my mind it’s a pink month… pink tulips, pink roses, pink candy hearts. It’s pretty and sweet and hopeful.

I’ve never wanted Valentine’s to be about romance or sex… it’s a family day for me, a night to share with my family how much I love them and how special they are to me. The tradition of a family night for Valentine’s Day started with my parents when I was a little girl and I’ve continued it for my sons. I love giving everyone a Valentine but I also want one from everyone, too–and my boys know it, big and small.

There’s something else I always want this time of the year–flowers. Tulips and roses and lilies. Fresh sweet scented bouquets that are pink and red and lush. Flowers that are yummy and romantic and simply gorgeous. And sometimes I get them, and sometimes I don’t. And instead of being sad I don’t get them, I now buy them for myself.

Yesterday on my way home after writing all day, I went to the flower section at the grocery store and picked out a dozen pink roses and bunches of tulips and once home pulled out my favorite vases and made up arrangements to put on the kitchen counter and the dining room table and by my computer on my desk. I decorate with little silver dishes of pink conversation hearts and red and silver foil hearts dangling over the dining room table from the chandelier. And I’m glad. I love to see them, love the colors, the textures, the emotions the flowers generate. I’m also glad I’m old enough and wise enough to know that no one will be able to meet all my needs and endless expectations and that its okay I do this for me… better than okay, its necessary.

The flowers are such a little thing in the big picture but they’re so very important to me.  And just like I learned when writing Flirting with Forty, I don’t have to wait for someone to recognize me, love me, do special little things for me. I can do them for myself. I can choose to love me. I can make sure I have that extraordinary life I’ve always wanted…can make sure that extraordinary life is happening now, today.

We can do it for ourselves. And we should.

Happy early Valentine’s Day from my hopeful, grateful heart to yours.


  1. Happy Valentine’s Day Jane! You and your writing makes the world a better place. True!!!!

    I love February too. Isn’t it a birthday month for you? It is my birthday month and I still am the only member of my family to have a Feb. birthday. Makes it seem all the more special! Smile!

    love, j

  2. My favorite color is pink and I love Valentine’s Day. Like you said I like the hearts and flowers I still don’t buy them for myself(the kids are both in college)because of finances. I bought cards and candy for everyone. I sent my daughter away at school a card with a Starbucks gift card tucked inside. It is about being with the person or maybe pets that holds your heart.
    I know you birthday is coming soon.
    Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Birthday, Jane!

  3. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too Jane, and a Happy Birthday as well!! I hope part of your Valentine’s fun and celebration includes indulging in Valentine’s Peeps. Thank you for all that you do, and projecting that hope to us readers as well!! :0)

  4. Your blog just reminded me of being at brunch with my family when I was about 12 and my Dad gave me money to buy something at the hotel gift shop. I wasn’t really aware of Valentine’s Day at the time but I saw a very cute heart shaped wooden box with figurines on top and picked it out. A couple standing in line asked me if it was for my Valentine and I said, “No, I don’t have a Valentine”. They said, “Then you’ll be our Valentine.Keep your money and we’ll buy it for you”. They bought it for me and left. I was so surprised. And being a kid, happy about still having the money my Dad gave me,lol. It was such a generous gesture by a couple that was probably very much in love. I like your perspective on Valentine’s Day. It’s nice to think of it as a time to cherish those closest to us — including ourselves — and maybe extend an unexpected kindness to another too.

    1. What a sweet memory! Thanks for sharing. Makes me want to go out and pass it on(the story and the kindness).Happy Valentine’s Day!

  5. What a lovely tradition! We were away for the weekend and came home and I was surprised there was a card from my brother for V day in the mail box. I think it is being older and realizing that family is where we learned about love and now we understand better how important we are to each other. And I also got just what I wanted from my husband because I bought it and didn’t put him under the pressure of reading my mind with the disappointment of other years when of course he didn’t. The biggest gift is we are still together and love each other after so many years.
    Enjoy the flowers and the candy and decorations. You are loved by so many because you share your life and you care about people and your books have made that evident for years. Hugs and Kisses!

  6. I like your take on Valentine’s Day about it being a family holiday and not just about having a significant other or not. I feel the same way about the holiday.

    I actually ran a facebook post asking my friends if they liked getting snail mail and if they did to send me their mailing address. I was thinking of your blog contests and how much fun it is to get something in the mail. Only two of my friends responded and so I went out and picked up a bunch of small things for them and mailed them off as Valentine’s gifts. It felt nice to do something for other people.

    The only date I have for tomorrow is with the gym, but I think it’ll be a good day anyway. 🙂 Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your family!

  7. Happy Valentine’s day Jane! I like to buy myself a pretty bunch of flowers now and then myself. My hubby and i don’t get into all those holiday buying things. It’s makes it better that i don’t know when he’s going to surprise me that way. I’d rather have a $5 bunch of flowers from the grocery store than a $40 bunch of roses from the florist anyway.

    Lisa B

  8. Happy Valentine’s Day! I am ready for my flowers tomorrow – Eric is very good about having a gorgeous bouquet of tulips and lilacs and roses and orchids delivered to me from my favorite florist. And I got See’s chocolates yesterday. I love sending & giving Valentine’s. I am not above buying myself a little Valentine’s gift here & there!

  9. That’s a great tradition to have with your family. Mine never really did much for any holidays. Most celebrating has been done with my husbands or boyfriends over the years. I also love flowers this time of year. they make me realize how close spring is. when I see tulips in the stores I get excited. I got some yellow ones last weekend. this Valentine’s/birthday weekend has come to be one of my worst. Friday morning (for my birthday) I woke up to a sore swollen mouth. Hoping the pain would just go away on it’s own, I didn’t call the dentist (not that we really have the money to go anyway). so, I have suffered all weekend and now will be forced to borrow money and go tomorrow, if I can get in. Friday night, we went out to eat at our usual place )Bass Pro Shop’s restaurant) and after we left, I actually passed out in the store. My husband really got scared because I didn’t tell him I felt faint. I just tried to get to a bench to sit down, but didn’t make it. Though we fight a lot and sometimes don’t agree on everything (who really does), times like this I appreciate him more then ever for what he did and how he handled the situation. We planned to celebrate Valentine’s day today with a nice meal out, but I’m just embarrassed to be seen in public as bad as my face looks and I can’t open my mouth up enough to eat. So, it’s soup time and I need to get cooking it. Today has been a beautiful day and I spent most of it sleeping because I’m taking pain pills. My husband did some much needed house repairs. Anyways, I hope everyone else was able to enjoy their weekend and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day tomorrow.

  10. I remember that I got chocolate from my friend couple years ago on valentine’s day.

    and now it’s my turn to give my family and sons chocolate. Does Double chocolate brownies sound good ? 😀 well. It does sound very good for my 4.5 yos son !

    And speaking of Flirting with forty, I’d finished reading this book couple days ago. And I Love it !

  11. Jane, you always shed such a great perspective on things. I love this post about Valentine’s Day. A relationship should be about two people bringing 100%… not two people bringing 50% to fill in the other person’s gaps. As women, it’s so important to realize that no one person can make us whole. Demanding that of anyone will only lead to disappointment. Hugs and happy Valentine’s to you! Can’t wait for your next book. Reading about the writing you are doing is too exciting!!!

  12. Happy Valentine’s Day, Jane! I totally agree with you. The way my family looks at it is, it is a day to show love to all of our family,friends and neighbors. My girls and I started make Valentine’s a month in advance (because we had about 50 to make–30 went to her classroom friends.) I am looking SO forward to going to help at my daughter’s class party tomorrow. Seeing little 6 year olds celebrate and have fun tops it all!
    I am glad you took the time to do something for yourself, Jane! We all should do that every now and then! I hope you have a wonderful time tomorrow with your family!

  13. Amen, sister! I’ve actually been my own Valentine more years than not. And you know what? I’m okay with that! 🙂 I’ve always told my girlfriends that we have to be our own Valentines FIRST. After all, if we don’t care enough to treat ourselves, why would we expect someone else to do it? I bought myself some nice chocolates today and tomorrow I’ll be treating myself to a relaxing massage during my lunch break. It’s all about decadence…whether that’s a bubble bath, a special truffle, a glass of champagne, a massage, or flowers. Anything counts, as long as it’s something you buy yourself to celebrate yourself. And if you have family, friends, or loved ones to also treat, well that’s all the sweeter! Happy Valentine’s Day, my friend! 🙂

  14. Jane,

    Thank you for the message and reminder that it’s OK to do things for ourselves that we enjoy.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  15. Make it yours, Jane!! You deserve it and you’re a smart lady to not expect others to fill it up for you. (:

    Be sure to stop by your PO box asap if you haven’t already.

    More pink things await you.

    Hugs, Shannon in Tustin

  16. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your boys, Jane!

    I gave my mom a rose plant and my sister a small box of chocolates in addition to their cards. The brothers don’t like chocolate or cards. I think it’s important to remember to share the love with family all year long and not just on Valentine’s Day.

  17. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your family! I made a home cooked meal for my 2 kids and my son’s girlfriends. I enjoyed cooking for its been awhile to make fresh noodles for my Italian dinner and it was a nice feeling. I buy my own flowers all the time for it makes me feel good. Even whne I was married, I hardly ever got flowers. I love tulips and spring type flowers, I quess beacause I was born in April. I’m a simple lady,too! I loved going over to my grandma’s to pick lily of the valley and liliac’s. Anyways, have fun with your family today!

  18. Happy Valentine’s Day! Like you, I celebrate the day with the entire family. I think I will go and buy some flowers today.

  19. happy valentines day jane!!! i always celebrate the day with my kids…making sure they each have their own valentine treat. i give out the little valentine cards to my friends: like the ones we traded in school. and i always remember my dad taking us the day after to get our valentine treat; with 7 kids we went when they were half off! but we didn’t mind cause that way we got our own!!! have a great day!

  20. I think of all of the years when I was single on Valentine’s Day and how it was always so sad. What a waste! Now that I have daughters, I want them to realize they can still love and be loved on Valentine’s Day and not have to be on a date or with a boyfriend. They can do a girls night, family night, etc.

    1. Melody! I love this. I absolutely do. We should teach our girls to think of Valentine’s Day as a chance to get together with their girl friends and celebrate their friendships and their successes and to take a moment and just love themselves. I was like you–sad to be a single on Valentine’s Day–not realizing I could do it differently, that I didn’t need a guy to make me feel special. Just planning fun things can make us feel wonderful…a dinner out, friends over for a glass of wine, a cheapie pedicure, or even a girls spa night at home. Thank you for this! You’re dead on…let’s make sure girls know they’re perfect and beautiful without a man!

  21. Happy Valentine’s Day to you Jane and all the readers here! It is so nice to have life all figured out and what truly makes us happy. Life is really what we make of it and we have the ability to do so. The things that make us happy are the things that we need and doesn’t matter where they come from, just that they are there for us to enjoy. My son made us a checkerboard Valentine cake and brought some flowers and a card thanking us for always being there for him. It was a nice day for us and I made a great dinner for all of us too…life is good, always something to look forward to as we enjoy each day. Valentine peeps are good too!!!!

    1. I was shocked to see Peeps out this time of year too. They have ones that are in the shape of, I (heart) U. Thought of you Jane!

  22. All I can say is absolutely! Do kind things for yourself. I love having fresh flowers and a candle burning. It’s not about anything but loving your environment.

    For me it’s Daffodils. Just absolutely love them and will pick up a bunch every time I go to the store when they are in season. They end up all over the house and just make me smile.

    This year my surprise for my children will be a red velvet cake. Never made one, never had one but they just look delicious. And, it just seems fitting for Valentines Day!

    Have a wonderful day, lots of love to you and your family.

  23. Good for you Jane! I treat myself too sometimes but have never treated myself to Valentine’s Day treats and flowers… and I should! I love lilies and tulips too, especially the big Stargazer lilies. Enjoy your day with your boys!

  24. Happy Valentine’s Day Jane!

    I also like having a vase of fresh flowers in my kitchen — it always brings a smile to my face. My husband doesn’t always think of flowers, but when my boys were still babies I started picking up flowers for myself while out grocery shopping and telling my husband the boys picked them out. So, as they have gotten older the boys often suggest we stop in the flower department…maybe one day when they are grown and married their wives will thank me!

  25. Hello Jane! Happy, happy Valentine’s Day to you my wonderful friend. I hope your day is blessed and wonderful and full of lovely pink and red surprises from those who love you back!

  26. Lovely post, Jane. It is a great epiphany when we finally realize that we make our own happiness…we can share it, but we have to be able to recognize it in ourselves first. Wishing you and all your Sweetheart Readers everything pink and rosy!

  27. Hi Jane,

    Happy Valentine’s Day. I love the tradition your parents started. It’s very like the tradition my Granmother started. It’ a very special monthe to me and I like to appreciate my Family for the whole month.

  28. Happy Heart’s Day, Jane! I picked out pink gerbera daisies! and you’re right- those small acts of “nice” makes each day extra special.

  29. Happy Valentine’s Day, Jane! This is my favorite holiday, too. It started waaayyyy back in elementary school…the rooms were always decorated so pretty in pink, red & white hearts, lace doilies, and of course picking out and passing out valentines to classmates. I hope you have a wonderful day!!

  30. I’m with you, Jane! V-Day is about family, and yesterday we enjoyed a nice lunch out and two hours spent playing at an arcade with our three-year-old. We exchanged gifts for each one of us that the whole family could do together: a Curious George video (for her), a child’s board game (for my husband), and a ukelele (for me). It was one of our best days ever.

    And we’re big believers of stretching out the celebration–tonight is the homemade dinner, making Valentines and decorating cookies for my three-year-old’s class, and flowers (if the hubby is true to form).

    Valentine’s Day loses its luster when you put all this faith into having the perfect presents and the best romance. But if you remember the mythology of Valentine’s Day, it started with a child. I don’t know how it became this whole lingerie-and-overhyped-romance thing.


  31. Dear Jane, Another insight. I hadn’t realized that I’d turned Valentine’s into a family event until I read your post. We each get something special, the adults and the kids. This year my husband took charge.

    It’s nice to have a family holiday each month and do things that make us happy.

    Enjoy your flowers!

  32. Happy Valentine’s Day Jane!! I know how much this day means to you and hope it is everything you hope it to be!! Hope your day has been filled with candy hearts and sweet kisses and hugs from all your boys!!


  33. Jane,

    I hope you see this. I had to write again this morning to thank you.
    I thank you because I had one of the best Valentine’s days ever and it was in some part due to what you wrote.

    When I read your blog yesterday morning, I was feeling kind of apathetic about the day. I had already gone out with my husband Sunday – dinner & a movie – and had a terrific time, I just didn’t have much planned for yesterday.

    It’s funny how things inspire us though. After reading your blog, I felt renewed enthusiasm about the day. I went to the store and bought what I needed for dinner, but also added tulips, candles, and candies to decorate with. I also added a simple dessert to our menu and my sweet son helped me make chocolate dipped strawberries.

    We had a wonderful family night and sat around the table for a couple of hours enjoying each other’s company.

    Thanks for helping inspire it all! 🙂
    I hope you and your family had a great night too.

  34. Hi Jane-Just wanted to thank you for the beautiful flowers for Erin.They made her cry!Her surgery went well but oh recovery is very hard-so much pain.But little by little she is coming along.Today has been 4 weeks since surgery and I think that she is probably about where she should be.She had a really hard time the week following surgery so I think that put her back a little.But I am so happy that she is still the same Erin-you never know with brain surgery.Kelli has not had the baby yet, he’s gonna be a BIG one we think!Should be any time now. Thanks so much Jane.

  35. Hi Jane-
    Have been meaning to call or email and catch up with you but this blog post prompted me to be in touch. Well, I have teased that this year my life has been a Jane Porter novel- I have gone from Mrs. Perfect to Odd Mom Out to finally really loving Flirting With Forty. The kids are doing well, everyone has settled into their new schools and made friends. The divorce should be final soon. I have met a wonderful man who has shown me what love is and how to love myself again. Let me say- he is my Dane Kelly- the man can fill a pair of jeans! I have always made Valentine’s Day a family day too. You are such a great lady- would love to catch up soon!

  36. Happy Birthday Jane!

    Have a wonderful, blessed day of fun and laughter!

    I am doing it for myself today! Took the day off and it is 50 degrees here in Minnesota today!

    Take care!

Leave a Comment

Your email is never published or shared.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By posting a comment, you consent to have your personally identifiable information collected and used in accordance with our privacy policy.