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Valentine’s not just for romance
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Olivia Newby plans on celebrating Thursday with the cutest Valentine – her 5-year-old son Colton. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

You may not have a romantic love to celebrate, but who says Valentine’s Day is limited to one type of love. 

Take a moment to reflect on those in your life who you value – a co-worker, family member – these relationships are worth acknowledging too. 

Ever heard of Galentine’s Day? Numerous single and married women alike get together to celebrate friendship this time of year. Others celebrate with their kiddos instead, including mom Olivia Newby.

“It wasn’t until Colton started school that I’ve really done anything for him, but I keep it low-key,” said Newby. “Just a small something that shows a little special love and affection for the day.”

During Valentine’s Day, dog owners also celebrate their love for their fur babies, including Lauren and Josh Weber. They have two dogs – Piper, a Jack Russell terrier and Riley, a German shorthaired pointer.

“Riley and Piper always get cookies and a bone for every holiday … and maybe even a bath,” laughed Lauren. “We love them and they’re part of our family.”

Although some local residents complain Valentine’s Day is over-commercialized, it doesn’t always take an expensive, elaborate gesture to show appreciation and love. Several moms from our community say they are just as happy with handmade gifts or a simple dinner out.

“My favorite Valentine’s Day gift is homemade cards,” said Catherine Bryant. “Avery drew a picture of me and her with hearts on it that’s still displayed on the fridge. Anything my children give to me is special because they are my heart and soul.”

For the Johnson family, Valentine’s Day is a whole family affair. Jarvis and his wife Stephanie enjoy a special meal and exchange small gifts over the meal.

“Every year for Valentine’s Day, we go to Mikado Japanese restaurant in Nashville because that’s my wife’s favorite,” said Jarvis. “We use it as a time to be with family so that includes our daughters Alyssa and Valeria.”

This month is full of opportunities to better someone’s day. Here are some other ways you can show your love:

Random Acts of Kindness Day – Observed Feb. 17. Pay for the person in line behind you in the drive thru, share a smile and kind word, or post an encouraging quote on social media.

Volunteer – Just showing up matters. Visit with someone in assisted living or a nursing home or help with a fundraiser like the local Valentine Sweetheart Dance on Feb. 16 for Young Men United.

Raintree Manor activity director Carson Rust said residents enjoy being remembered and visited on Valentine’s Day.

“We offer different places to visit from our 1950s diner to our main dining room,” said Rust. “There will be a party around lunch so friends and family are welcome to come and celebrate with them.”

Whether it’s the special people in our lives or random strangers, let’s use the month of love to actually spread love.