My wife vehemently dislikes Valentine's Day. The crowds. The red. The roses. The price of those roses right now. Even simply the designation. It's all just a little too...fabricated. In her general sentiments, 'I love her every day with all my heart, right?' Babe, of course! And almost since the moment we met in 6th grade (true story). But c'mon, it's Valentine's Day! Everybody's doing it...

And since they are, we have reservations at Restaurant X, where I am so looking forward to surprising you with Gift Y.  And that's just it. X's and Y's. Formulas...

X plus Y may equal Eternal Love, but I've learned that the latter is way too mysterious to be that simple. Even if X serves the best filet in existence and Y is named Alexa and changes lives, I have learned that neither X nor Y type here necessarily ensures a great gift. 

No, I have learned that the best Valentine's Day Gifts, the ones that genuinely reinforce the 'all my heart' part, the ones that can make any physical gift less relevant, those always seem to include the following 3 components:

1. Intention
I don't mean the kind of Intention exemplified by me calling the restaurant 3 weeks ago (or more likely, clicking Open Table's website yesterday) and booking a table for 2, ON PURPOSE. No, no. I mean the kind of intention whereby my intense love for you - and only you - made me do it. The kind of intention that only I could call upon - because I know you. I know what you love. And, I love you expressly for that.

A good example is when I found one of my wife's first handwritten notes to me from middle school, the one in the TBT (Time Before Text (and incidentally Cell Phones too - those were called Discmans). Anyway, I found this note, ripped and faded and where you asked me what teacher I had for first period and where all your i's had perfectly drawn circles for their dots. That one...

And I framed it. That's it. And you loved it. And you hung it. And I loved you even more for it. That is intention. 

2. Detail
Details are a funny thing. They can seem so small and insignificant, but when disregarded, can wreak significant havoc. I am reminded of the time I was sitting in the passenger seat of my buddy's SUV while he was filling up at a gas station in Los Angeles. He hopped back in, started the truck up and made it about 10 feet...which is when he reminded himself (and me) that the gas nozzle really is supposed to come out of the tank before driving away. With his rear fender redesigned, the now nozzle-less hose on the ground spewing gas everywhere and soon to be LA's finest helping clean up, respect for that small detail may have really helped him and his insurance company. That said, attention to detail is everything. In fact, it can actually be more than the 'thing'. 

Remembering that she loves Red Velvet cupcakes and making one appear after a gorgeous meal no matter where you are, might just turn out to be better than the meal itself. Because you remembered. You cared. And you made a single touch memorable forever. That is detail.

3. Presence.
There is no such thing as multi-tasking. Or there is, but it could be a synonym for half-a**ing. Sure, you could totally text and ride your bike simultaneously. But, at some point, you will end up going over the handlebars (this may or may not have happened to me during a beautiful ride on my new bike in DC once).

So no matter what you end up doing for Valentine's, be there. Heart and mind. Whether it's on a phone call from afar, via a handwritten letter sent or being there in person, consider everything but you and those special people in your life extraneous. Savor their presence. And only theirs.

X + Y may not equal the gift of Eternal Love, but Intention + Detail + Presence just may.

Happy Valentine's Day!