Valentine Hearts, and Paper Valentines

img_6266Today is Valentines day.
Happy I love someone day!
Tomorrow is Happy 50%off candy at Target day.

Towards the end of January one of my friends posted a picture on Facebook, it was a door covered in hearts, each heart had something written on it.  It was cute and home-made, and full of kindness, all things I love.  So I decided to take it and make it mine.  I was going to cut hearts, but after doing the mental math I decided I was just too lazy to make 84 different hearts, so instead, I bought a few packs of pre-made hearts from my favorite store ever.  Hobby Lobby, I lose all restraint when I go into Hob’lob, and much like Oprah, “you get a car, and you get a car…”  I walk through the store, “you get in my cart, and you get in my cart.”  Seriously I cannot contain myself!

When I got home from my rather small spending spree I sat down and wrote out things I love about my family.  I was afraid it would be difficult and time-consuming but once I sat down the traits and ideas just came out.  I could not write fast enough.
I love your new smile
You are an excellent reader
You are an extraordinary dishwasher loader
You make me laugh
You work very hard on your grades
You play your instrument well, your practice shows
You have very pretty hair
You are becoming a Godly leader
I love to listen to your stories
You pick up shoes like a big girl
You seek justice
I love you
will you be my valentine…
You get the idea, some things were big things, character and other things were appearance, and appreciation.  It was fun to do.    I contemplated doing the big kids, (more on those changes later) but I would have to mail them, and I did not know if they would want all those paper hearts… (if they read this let me know I can send them to you)  I was going to put a heart on each night, I often ended up doing 2 at a time, simply because I would remember when I was already snuggled into my bed.img_6274R’s Door,  img_6275J’s door img_6276E and A’s stairway
(notice the things at the top of the stairs, the JBF sale is coming soon!)img_6264Keith’s hearts made it to our closet, because I put PS’s hearts on our bedroom door.img_6267Each set of hearts was ended with Be My Valentine.  I want my family to know they will forever have my heart.

Paper Valentines.
While I don’t agree with every child getting a trophy, or some school systems removing the honor roll for fear of hurt feelings I do embrace the valentine card for everyone.  We can look back on our childhood and either remember being left out of someones lick’em’stick’em tattoo valentine or (wanting to) leaving someone out of our puffy sticker valentines.  And we all know that kindness counts, leaving someone out is just hurtful.  Each weekly folder before valentine comes home with a class list.  Because I had a moment of clear headedness I purchased school valentines in early January (actually when I was taking O back to the University)  Whoo-hoo I was ready, I even knew where they were, yesterday, after wrapping valentine boxes (empty cereal and cracker boxes) I sat down with the girlies, and we made the cute little eraser valentines from Target (Why does my cart get so full there???)  E had bumble bee ones and A had cat ones.  The set included glue dots, you just put the bee or face on the card, sign your name and you are good to go.  Because A is in 1st grade and writes L A R G E like a 1st grader I signed all her cards for her (and honestly if I let her do it I would be spending more time redirecting her than it would take for me to knock them out myself)  The girls left for basketball practice and I cleaned up our mess.  I put all of Little A’s valentines in a large zipper baggie and left them out for her to take in the morning.  Our morning rush to get out the door, R was leading little A along and she paused to admire her cards, she stopped short in her tacks and said, “mom did these wrong,” R asked “in what way?”  A sweetly replied “they are addressed to MY FRIEND, but not all the kids in my class are my friends.”  R warned her “you don’t need to tell them they are not your friend”  She reasoned with him “oh they are going to know”img_6272To:my friend
From: A
p.s. you are not really my friend…

So IF your child is in my little A’s class and she tells your child that they are NOT REALLY ‘my friend’ I am so sorry, we will now be working on telling the truth in love, and not all truths need to be shared.

Happy Valentines day, go hug someone you love, I was once again reminded how short life really is, and if you don’t get that hug in, or that I LOVE YOU in, it might be your last chance.
jen

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Today He Leaves, and My Heart Hurts

Today is the big day.
Departure day.
The day I have dreaded more than any other parenting day I have ever experienced.  Today is the day my first-born leaves to be a forever adult.  Oh sure he is an adult.  He has been a practicing adult for a long time now, he finished his education, and he found a part-time job, actually 2 jobs while he finished his degree.  He looked for jobs in his dream city, set up interviews, and traveled up to that dream city.  He was hired.  He looked for an apartment, he filled out applications, and he secured the apartment.  He has been an acting adult for months/years now.

But today…  it is official.  He is leaving our family for his career, for his own life.  He is moving away and spreading his wings, or some such stupid crappy lines.  What in the world, he is not a bird.  He is my son.  I did not parent a bird, who has animal instincts I parented a human, he thinks, he feels, he reasons and he loves. He is passionate, and brave, he is smart and so very funny.  And today he is leaving our little lives to seek his own fortune, his own life, his own legacy.

We made a lot of mistakes with him.  He was our first child.  Our experiment, things like potty training and sleep training were easy.  Heart training not so much.  Getting him to settle down and be serious, teaching him to think of others first, showing him how to plan and be self driven, not always easy, but so very worth it.  We failed often but we loved more than we failed.  He taught us the things that are  important which has made us better parents to the other children.  He showed us first hand what toddler parenting, elementary parenting, middle school parenting, high school and college parenting looks like.  Now he has to train us in adult parenting.  Because I don’t know how to do that.

He makes me laugh, until I cannot breathe and I have tears running down my face.

He makes me angry until I cannot breathe and I have tears running down my face.

He makes me proud until I cannot breathe and I have tears running down my face.

He makes me sad until I cannot breathe and I have tears running down my face.

He makes me love until I cannot breathe and I have tears running down my face.

My dearest child,
I love you so much, I am so proud of the man you are, and the man you are becoming.  I want you to remember the fun we have had, the adventures we have gone on and the love we have for you.  I want you to know Jesus like we know him, I want you to succeed in life and learn from your mistakes.  I want you to form relationships with people who will stretch you, people who will make you a more compassionate and a gentler, more comfortable you.  I want you to go out and seek adventure, I want you to try new foods, explore new places, and learn new things.  I want you to sit quiet and watch people, I want you to find a way to serve in your community.  I am so proud of you, I loved watching you perform, and do the things you loved to do.  I see the relationship of big brother you have shown to your younger brothers and sisters.  I see the bond and I want you to keep it alive.  I have made mistakes parenting you, and I want you to know that I am sorry, and so thankful that we both grew as a result of those mistakes.  I want you to go out in that big dream you are experiencing and I want you to succeed.  I want people to see how smart you are, I want people to learn from you, I want you to learn from them.  I want you to experience all life has to offer, and I want you to remember that we are always here for you, we will always love you, so much more than you will ever know.  I want you to love, and be loved, I want you to succeed, and I want you to remember that we will always welcome you home.  I love you so very much my heart hurts, I am so thankful to be your mom, and so proud of you.  I want you to remember who you belong to.
I love you,
mom

So Please do me a favor, go tell someone you love them, call someone you love, tell them you love them, go hug your kids, read one more book, listen to one more joke, snuggle for one more minute.  Because one day you will watch them drive off with all their belongings and you will realize just how very fast time moves on.
go hug your kids, they need your love
jen