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February marks two of my favorite celebrations: Valentine’s Day and the Lunar New Year. These two holidays hold such significance in my heart, each for different reasons.

Having spent 30 years as an expat living in Hong Kong, I always get a bit wistful when Chinese New Year rolls around. I miss the festive lights, colorful decorations, delicious food (did someone say moon cake?!), and the warmth and community that I associate with the annual celebration:

Most of my clients from the US or Europe might not know this, but the final day of Lunar New Year (which falls on the last week of February) is celebrated very similarly to the western holiday we know as Valentine’s Day. In Chinese culture, after the week-long Lunar New Year festivities, young girls would set out to admire lanterns strung around town—in hopes of potentially meeting a sweetheart.

For me, Valentine’s Day holds a special significance because it reminds me of Marshall Rosenberg’s rendition of “See Me Beautiful”, a heartfelt song that pleads for love in spite of imperfection. How timely Dr. Rosenberg’s message is for the parenting work that we do!

I feel privileged to have not one but two cultural traditions to celebrate in the next few days. I hope these holidays inspire you to relish new beginnings and see the beauty in everyone.

From the bottom of my heart, wherever you are in the world: Happy Valentine’s Day and Gong hei fat choy!