Parenting | It’s About Love
I have to confess, I love Valentines Day. LOVE IT. I make heart-shaped breakfast for my kids, I craft each of them their own card every year, and set the table with heart placemats. But the sappy jewelry ads on TV – He went to Jared! – and the insistence in our local grocery store that no man should turn up at home on the 14th without a dozen roses and a huge helium balloon? It makes me crazy – and not in a cute way.
This year we started a new family tradition, as a mini-rebellion if you will, against cheap chocolate and forced jewelry purchases. At dinner on February 1st, I gave them each a paper heart and a Sharpie, and asked them to think about where they’d seen love that day. Had they done anything loving? Had they watched someone be loving in any way?
I thought it’d be a tough sell. I was sure I’d be met with blank faces (and maybe some rolled eyes from my eldest). Instead, the ideas came bubbling out of them like a chocolate fountain – She let me play with her Polly Pockets! They included me in their game! Daddy helped Mommy clean the basement!
We called our game Heart Attack, and I told them I wanted to fill our entire fridge door with love this month. My second grader proudly prints his own, every night, and loves doing a ‘sneak attack’ by posting hearts when I’m not looking. It breaks my heart in a million good ways, that my boy is so quick to see love.
This is the point, really: I want so much for them to see the love that surrounds them on a daily basis. To know, deep in their hearts and on all of the other 364 days in the year, that love is everywhere if you’re looking. For me, it’s a gift I can give a kid looking at a near-future of first crushes and middle school and mean girls, to know that real love is so much bigger than a silly stuffed teddy bear or a single long stemmed rose. It’s a gift that a second grader overwhelmed by cursive and math homework can keep like a touchstone in his pocket. It’s a gift that a preschooler takes out into her world and spreads like sticky jelly fingerprints: YOU ARE SO LOVED.