Thursday, February 13, 2014

Gold medals & hearts

I could always take or leave Valentine's Day. And I don't say that in some bitter tone that dislikes a Hallmark holiday aimed at expressing obligatory love. I think Valentine's Day can be sweet, but it also can be overdone. Plus kids really do make any holiday more fun.

I should pause here to mention that Greg and I went on our first date on Valentine's Day in 1998. But it had nothing to do with the holiday and everything to do with it was the Saturday after we met through a mutual acquaintance.

So, now back to the present and not 16 years ago. I impulsively picked up My Little Pony cards for Cate to give and Jake the Neverland Pirates cards for Ben to give when they weren't even with me. They were with me the day the picked out treats to include with the cards. Cate chose those classic candy conversation hearts and Ben opted for heart-shaped fruit snacks. My kids are predictable in this way, people.

And during our "snow days" we addressed and assembled them. Well, honestly, they did. I provided a list of their classmates because I'm picky about people names being spelled correctly. Let's just say I've received many checks, notes, invitations, texts and Facebook messages addressed to K-R-I-S-T-E-N. I'm actually K-R-I-S-T-I-N, for anyone keeping track.

Then they went to work on Valentines. Cate addressed all of hers and signed her name. She put a box of conversation hearts in a Zip-loc with the card. And then she addressed all of Ben's cards while he signed his name and paired the cards with fruit snacks.

My boy who likes to tell to say the wrong letter on purpose when asked to identify a letter was excited about writing Bs and Es and Ns for his friends. The fact his Es sometimes have five horizontal lines is all the sweeter. I know it will pass and this is me embracing imperfection. And independence.

Y'all. I want my kids to know Jesus more than anything else. But not far below that in my mothering priorities is developing independence. 

I don't want to carry their backpacks in from the mini van. They're perfectly capable of carrying their plates over to the sink from the dinner table. My girl is a champion sock matcher and you should see my boy push an entire basket of dirty clothes into the laundry room, where he can sort of sort the colors.

And I praised God when they tackled these valentines in a way that should win them some kind of gold medal. Not only did they accomplish it with some independence. They also are so excited to hand them out.

I'm sure it's possible they're more excited to receive valentines from their friends.

But, y'all, I didn't have to go to Pinterest to get instructions on how to create some elaborate valentine mailbox. I should note here I've been on Pinterest once and don't have an account. I did think we are going to have to decorate the fruit snacks box and then scrounge around the house for a second box.

But then I found the brown paper sacks in my craft stash. Yes, I'm certain they're from some previous craft I never got around to doing with my kids.

My crafty daughter suggested we should add some ribbon so the bags have handles. And that was a good idea. UNTIL I found some sparkly pipe cleaners. You would have thought I uncovered gold. Nope, just gold and silver and purple pipe cleaners that make fantastic handles taped to the inside of the brown paper sack that my kids covered with stickers and words.

Simple yet sweet for the valentines win.

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