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SOUCHERAY: Showing affection the other 364 days of the year

Another Valentine's Day came and went on Sunday. No matter how we spent the day, we certainly were aware of the valentines on display in local stores, the specials offered at local restaurants, and the many sales of flowers and candy for our beloved.

Valentine's Day has become a day of the year to show our commitment and love for those who share our lives. We are encouraged to give a lovely card, complete with a genuine sentiment of devotion, and make the day special.

Well, this is all fine and good, but what about the other 364 days of the year? Shouldn't those days receive our attention and thoughtfulness, as well? Is it only on Valentine's Day that we give ourselves permission to tell others how much we care about them?

I wonder what would happen if we approached every week of the year with the expectation to surprise our dearly beloved with a card of appreciation and gratitude for the life we share. I wonder if our marriages would feel more fulfilling and supportive. It seems logical that we would like our spouse to express his or her gratefulness toward us for all we do to help our families run smoothly.

Imagine the one you love bringing a card and setting it on the counter in the kitchen with a note telling you how much you mean to them. This note might include something about how happy they are to be married to you, after all these years. Such a simple thing.

When we watched the Super Bowl a few weeks ago, I was in and out of the family room, where the game was on. The commercials were okay this year; nothing spectacular or terribly memorable. And then came the end of the game.

As we watched the live shot of Drew Brees holding his son, we saw the little guy dwarfed by the enormous headphones covering his ears. We also saw the winning quarterback of the grand finale of football hugging and kissing his little boy, with tears running down his cheeks. I said to our son, "Now that's the best commercial of the game!"

The way we show love and affection for those closest to us is something we want to demonstrate every day of the year, not just on Valentine's Day. We may show our love by signing up to coach our son or daughter's t-ball team this spring. We'll remember this will require that we leave work early on the days of practice and games.

We may offer to be a chaperone for our son or daughter's field trip for school. It may require us to take a vacation day from work, but what were we saving them for anyway? Is there anything more important, really, than experiencing a trip to the zoo or the science museum with our child?

We may offer to be a troop leader for boy scouts or girl scouts for our child. The commitment will require time from us, but we will remember when we were a scout and how much fun we had on the camping trips and earning badges.

We may decide to get involved in the community center for the arts in Woodbury, which begins construction next year. We may have participated in the arts in one aspect or another in high school or college and would love to get involved again. We realize this will require time from us and that we will have to curtail our commitments elsewhere, but the rewards can be life-changing.

Valentine's Day is behind us for this year, but the desire and need to express our love for one another is something we must do daily. If we remember that the winning quarterback of the most-watched television program in history was willing to express his fondness and warmth for his son as he was watched by millions, we can certainly show our love for one another in our own lives.

Kate Soucheray is a Woodbury resident