Monday, February 17, 2014

love, simply

I remember Valentine's Day as a kid.  My mom would make a giant, frosted, heart-shaped cookie and present it on a plate.  My step-dad would bring me a single, red rose.  I always felt so special.  The cookie was good, but the rose....  That simple act, from a step-dad to a step-daughter, has stayed with me well beyond his death.
I had had a couple of Valentine's ideas floating around my skull the past few weeks.  I knew my husband would be out of town and I was mostly thinking of the kids.  I wanted to use the holiday as an excuse to give them something I've made, because I'm all about handmade shit.  First thought was to sew up those Waldorf doll kits I'd ordered ages ago.  Second thought was to (finally!) make them a similar felt fishing kit I'd sewed for my nephew years ago.  Then, I read this short article.  Plus, I ran out of time.  I decided to eliminate the material goods altogether and stick with good old-fashioned, simple, love.  

I feel like all my kids hear all day long is don't do this and don't do that.  I wanted to tell them all the good things; the things I love about them.  So I set my late-night knitting frenzy on hold, dug out my new watercolor crayons I'd received as a gift, and went to work.    
I know, I know.  If my kids were older you'd probably guess they made these cards.  But no, it was me, and that's not the point.  The card on the left is Hazel's, on the right Juniper's.  They caught and related to the symbolism instantly.  And they were so impressed that I made a Valentine for them.

Together, my husband and I listed little things we love about each of our kids, as it popped into our heads.  There are big things, "I love your imagination."  And little things, "I love what you do with glitter glue."
Juniper snuggled in my lap and we read hers together.  Afterward she said, "Oh, wow!  You love A LOT about me!"  There's something about writing it down that makes it more real and respectable for kids, like a rule or a law.  We thumbtacked her card above her bed.    
Later that morning, after heart-shaped pancakes, my husband left for the weekend and the kids and I went to a long overdue playdate with friends.  Referring to my husband being gone somewhat often, my friend said something like, "I don't know how you do it....  How do you do it?"  And I shrugged and said, "We just do."

But then I came home and opened the fridge and saw how I do it.  The night before, my man had made a mule-deer pot roast that simmered in the slow cooker all night.  And the night before that, he made a huge batch of deer stir-fry.  He knows how needy Hazel can be when she wakes from her afternoon nap, timed impeccably with dinner preparation.  He knows the evening meal is my weak point when I'm out-numbered two-to-one by young, demanding children.  I didn't cook all weekend.  He makes up for his absence in food, and that's how we do it.  Pure.  Simple.  Love.
^J's preschool project.^

But before he left, they all got together and made a Valentine for me:
I really, really like this.  I think this will be our new Valentine tradition.  Just another way to express gratitude and love.  

My favorites: "I love your nursing boobs," by Hazel.  And, "We love all the mom that you are."  


  1. Sounds like a really lovely valentines day, great idea with the cards and what you love about each child. Might spontaneously do this for my girl someday soon. I had a long list of things I wanted to do but ended up working so my husband made heart shaped French toast and a valentines themed school lunch which our daughter loved.

  2. The past few years I have made Valentine's cards like this for my kids, and encouraged them to do them for each other. And wouldn't you know it--I forgot all about it this year! I made them each a tiny gift and left it at that. I might have to follow craftysquirrel's advice and be spontaneous with mine. Thanks for reminding me! Super sweet. What a great man you've got.

  3. I love these cards and I am so stealing the '10 things i love about you' idea for my kids next year x

  4. I love your nursing boobs! Awesome! Just this morning Sully looked at me and said, "There are your milk things that me and Theo drank from. " Sounds like you guys have Valentine's Day just right. x


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