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.
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."
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."