Happy Valentine’s Day to My Son!

I went card shopping for Valentine’s Day last night. I found a beautiful card for my Sweetie, who I have loved for more than 20 years. I found a beautiful card for my Sweetie Girl, who I have loved for over 10 years. But you know what I found out?

They don’t really make loving cards for boys.

I am lucky enough to have a Sweetie Girl and a Sweetie Boy (they are twins). I love them both very much, but also very differently. My son is so much like me in so many ways. He is sweet, intelligent, incredibly sensitive to other people and very perceptive. He is utterly unafraid of affection and I don’t think he even knows there is an issue for many men about hugging and kissing. We hug every morning before I go to work and when I get home and when he goes to bed and any other time we can squeeze a hug and kiss in. We are not shy in my family about showing our love. In fact, if you come over, be prepared. We love and are pretty out in the open about it.

The card for my Sweetie Girl includes an emphasis on no matter what she does or how I feel or what my day is like, I love her no matter what. Sure, it had pink and purple and maybe even some flowers, but frankly, she won’t care that much about that. She needs reminders that our love for her is always present, no matter what she does or how angry we get with her.

Is it not cool to say that to a son?

Truth be told, I don’t think he worries about the unconditionality of our love the way she does (she got that from me), but I would’ve loved to give him a card that said something very similar (without the words “To My Daughter” on it). But all I could find were funny cards, joking about love and cards with superheroes on them.

I spend a lot of time in the world of fatherhood, with people who believe like I do, that fathers are extremely important to their children and that all dads have so much to offer their children just by being present. I try to help moms and dads make sure dads can be involved and get comfortable enough to be involved. I read dozens of articles about parenting and fatherhood every week.

Last night reminded me we still have a long way to go. The fact that we still think as a culture that it is not acceptable to show love and affection to our sons the way we can with our daughters means more boys will grow into men uncomfortable with giving and receiving love and affection.

But not my boy. I love my boy and he loves me and I hope the whole world knows.

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2 Responses to Happy Valentine’s Day to My Son!

  1. Ruth says:

    Thanks for bringing this conversation out in the open, Jeremy. I love how you said that your son doesn’t even realize that anyone would show less affection than you share with him.

    Re Valentine cards, I have felt this way my whole card-buying life, but in relation to buying cards for my dad(s). The cards for dads – for any holiday – tend to be humorous, off-color/sexist, sports-related, or depict dads as inherently lazy. Talk about stereotyping, huh? When I’d find that one card that was remotely sentimental it would usually be just sappy. Time to step up our game and add honest affection, meaning, and show the love to our guys, Hallmark. How ’bout it?

  2. Gábor says:

    Thank you, Jeremy, for these thoughts.
    I could not agree more that culturally there is a long way to go. In fact, in some ways it could be beneficial to have a surely controversial “masculinist” movement to help redefine what modern men and their role could be to start a conversation as the feminist movement did that for women.

    (Slightly off topic: I think that when you look at it from a wider perspective, the culture does not know what to do with children in a healthy way in general. So much of what goes on as an expression of love and care towards children is either materialistic in the physical sense (giving things and more things) or materialistic in the emotional sense: the excessive holding on to memories of past events and experiences (primarily when it is done through the (again) excessive use of images and movies), so much that people forget to or are unable to experience what is happening right now.

    Even more off topic: I could argue that this society does not value children and families besides words and slogans that are spoken. But that is for some other time.)

    Sincerely,

    Gábor

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