The most amazing Valentine's present I ever gave or received was the very same gift: a healthy, unbelievably gorgeous 8 lb baby daughter born February 14th, 1989.
You can't plan something like that. Like love itself, it just happens.
Even when you aren't blessed with cosmic chance, Valentine's can still feel like shooting craps. Unlike birthday or Christmas prezzies, Valentine's Day is nothing less that a litmus test on what got you to love that person in the first place. It should be a present that no one else IN THE WORLD would have the insight to surprise them with.
The secret to figuring that out has something to do with really paying attention, a fact I was reminded of last week when a well dressed gentleman came into the shop searching for a Valentine's gift for his wife of 44 years. After roaming around lifting glass vases, cradling wooden bowls, holding jewelry aloft to catch the light, he marched up to the sales counter carrying, of all things, a huge bolt of un-dyed hemp.
I had to ask him why. I love the hemp we sell ~ beautiful product, incredible story ~ but a bolt of limp fabric doesn't exactly jump out at you for it's color, form or narrative the way, say, a nice painting, a wire sculpture, or a 100 years old butterfly collection does. (hint hint)
Turns out he didn't even know it was hemp. Had no idea and didn't even care what his wife was going to do with it, if anything at all. I just love the feel of it, he said. She will too. The woman sees through her fingers.
In a letter to his brother Theo, Van Gogh once wrote that "...small emotions are the great captains of our lives." A pretty good thought to remember as you head out to forage an object of desire for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day.