Dear Tiny (and funny) Valentines-
Pink hearts, candy, flowers…..tis’ the season of love and romance (don’t worry, you don’t need to know what that word means yet…) and as some will say, the greatest of all “Hallmark Holidays” is upon us. As we browse the retail aisles in the “bus cart”, you both are captivated by all of the treasures this season has to offer. And while I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a romantic (no sweetie, you still don’t need to know what that word means), I will tell you both, that I do love this holiday, now more than ever actually. And why? Well, because as your mama, I get to see it through the purest of eyes. Yours….
Today when little brother and I picked you up at school, you and all of your classmates were chattering about the shoeboxes you had just decorated that would be used to store all of the tiny envelopes and candy treasures that you and your classmates will exchange later this week. The excitement was palpable. And that is when I realized that the meaning of this holiday changes with us. As we grow and move through the stages in our lives, so too does the meaning of Valentine’s Day.
In pre-school (sorry sweetie, “Pre-K”), Valentine’s Day is all about the shoebox! How many construction paper hearts can you glue on one box while still leaving enough of a slit that your classmates will be able to slip in a tiny envelope stuffed with a few candy hearts? How many temporary tattoos will you score from your Valentine haul? You will receive a Valentine from everyone and everyone will receive one from you. That’s how it works in Pre-K. Perfect.
In elementary school, it’s about wondering which friends will send you one of those super nifty Tootsie-Roll Pop Valentine-O-Grams that the PTA was selling for a dollar each. You may wonder why Susie or Johnny got more (or less) than you, but my Loves, it’s not a contest. Please remember that. The love that surrounds you, simply cannot be measured in Tootsie-Roll Pops….not even Dove Bars for that matter. And know that it surrounds you every day….not just Valentine’s Day.
In high school things may start to get a little more complicated….I won’t lie. You may have a boyfriend or girlfriend on Valentine’s Day, or you may not. Your locker may be decorated with hearts and flowers, or it may not. You might get (or give) carnations in home-room, or you may not. You may feel like the king/queen of romance (there’s that pesky word again….) or you may want to hide until the day is over. Either way, you should remember that love comes in all forms. Your friends that you just ate lunch with…they love you. Your parent that tossed your sweatshirt at you as you ran to catch the bus…they love you. Your brother/sister that just rolled their eyes at you as they passed you in the hall…yup there is love there as well. These Valentines are ALWAYS with you….please remember that. That secret crush….may not be.
And then sometime between the ages of 18 and 25ish pretty much everyone will go through a “I-hate-Valentine’s-Day-it-is-just-one-big-conspiracy-against-single-people” phase. This too shall pass. Just please do your best not to rain on the parades of those around you who are wrapped up in the, you guessed it, ROMANCE of the day. For you too, shall be there once again. I am your mama, and I promise you that.
Somewhere along the journey, you will find your person. The one that you can laugh with, cry with, and dream with and then my loves, every day becomes Valentine’s Day. Well, not really….but once you find that true connection with someone, February 14th will become less of a holiday and more of a reminder. A reminder to celebrate the person in your life that makes you want to be the best version of yourself. You should know, that your Daddy and I have figured that part out. I am one lucky girl, it’s true. And yes, you may exchange tokens of your love or share a special dinner or time together…but now, you will know that Valentine’s Day is about more than the commercial things….it is about love. Simple as that.
And then the best part comes along (so far as I can tell anyway)….once you have children of your own, you will realize that all of that other Valentine’s Day stuff, was just practice for the real thing. When you have children someday, you will learn what it means to give and receive love in it purest, most true form. The love of a child is is without judgement, it is honest, and it is perfectly simple. The love of a mama…well, I am not sure I can put that into words, but it is a force stronger than any other. It is fierce, it is compassionate, it is overwhelming, it is beautiful, and it is forever. At times, you may feel that you will physically burst from the amount of love you hold in your heart for your children. Like, literally, burst. There are no frilly cards, no boxes of chocolate, and no little velvet boxes that can contain it. It is love in its most raw form. Try as I might, there are no words. Not even Hallmark can put that on a card.
So my loves, tomorrow, we will sit and put together your Valentines for your classmates and later this week, I cannot wait to go through that shoebox with you. But for tonight, I think I will sneak into your rooms and kiss your sweet foreheads just one more time, smooth your hair, and remember just what at lucky mama I am. My sweet (and funny) Valentines, my wish for you both, is that you may know what it means to give and to receive love for all of the years and phases of your life. There simply is no better way to live.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
XOXOXO (infinity times),