This Friday is Valentine’s Day. A day marked by the commercial displays of love and a fairytale definition of romance. After years of working in restaurants during college I am so over Valentine’s Day. I have watched more couples pretend to be happy, over pay for a meal, or participate in customary rituals we have deemed as romantic to find anything special about the day.

This probably makes me sound cynical. Do not get me wrong, I love the beauty of the imagery and the meaning of the day. But ask yourself, should love be celebrated one day a year? Should grand gestures be considered romantic? What about the small things, the small gestures and moments throughout the year? These need to be considered too.

There are several movements currently in Lawton, all are geared towards kindness and highlighting the great things about our area. The Kindness Revolution, a movement started by Angela Schertle, is working to not only highlight the great things our community does, but also to remind us to be kind in our everyday actions and words. Look for the Kindness Revolution throughout the community, you will know when you find them, you will be smiling. Valentine’s Day would be the perfect day to launch your own Kindness Revolution, to show our community your love.

As we approach Friday and the many celebrations of love, I would like to challenge you to use Valentine’s Day 2020 as a starting point of recognizing the love, beauty and romance in our everyday lives. Let the little things, like someone holding open the door for you, a friendly smile from the clerk at the store, or great conversation bring beauty to our everyday lives. Rather than spend more money than you are comfortable spending on your significant other this Friday, choose to spend time throughout the year with them, or do little things throughout the year to make them smile. Imagine coming home to a clean house, or all the laundry folded, or found little notes stashed in your purse or briefcase.

True love is not romantic. True love is hard, it hurts, it is unfair, can be harsh and takes more time and commitment than imaginable. It is not champagne and diamonds, it is cracked hands from washing dishes and wearing faded clothes because the other person needed something more. It is shared chores, gratitude, friendship, tears, laughter and joy. It is having someone walk next to you during the hardest parts of your journey. Love can be defined as who is standing next to you when life comes crashing down and leaves you crying and the snot flowing. Love is always willing to pick up the pieces and start over, finds beauty in your scars and laughs at your bad jokes.

My family and I will be celebrating Valentine’s Day at home. Whatever my husband decides to cook, I know it will be delicious. To be honest, it could be cold cheese sandwiches and I would be more thrilled than if he took me out for a fancy dinner. All I want for Valentine’s Day is time with my family, lots of time. I am greedy and want more time than I am entitled to. But in the end, time is all we truly have to give.

I wish each of you a very happy Valentine’s Day. I hope each of you finds a moment of happiness and feels loved. I would love to hear from you, you can reach me at

Sara Orellana-Paape lives in Lawton.

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