When I was much, much younger, I thought Valentine's Day was a sweet, romantic day for flowers and gifts and professions of undying love. Then I grew up a little bit, and I decided that Valentine's Day was kind of a silly, overly-commercialized "holiday" that was nothing more than a way for card companies and jewelers to make lots of money, and that one should really try to show love every day, not just on Valentine's. Then I grew up a little bit more, and I revised my opinion of this holiday a bit. I now think of Valentine's Day as a nice enough day. There's nothing wrong with a day that encourages people to show their love for one another. I don't think it's necessary to show that love through expensive gifts, but showing love? That's cool. I still think it's much more important to show how much the special people in your life mean to you every day. An "I love you" and a kiss before leaving for work, or the store, or the basement. A kiss before bed every night. "I love you" and holding hands or giving a kiss for no reason at all but to remind someone they are essential to your world. That's the good stuff.
Now that I have kids, Valentines Day has become something even more. It has become yet another way to have some fun with my girls.
I like home made gifts for days like Valentine's Day. I make stuff with my girls for this holiday. To me it's a great way to have fun together and it helps to neutralize the messages out there that your man must buy you big diamonds or a trip to Aruba to show that he really loves you on Valentine's Day. Not that my girls see or hear these messages now, but someday I'm sure they will. So we're starting early to make a point of showing love through special gestures and thoughtful, simple gifts, rather than flashy stuff.
We made little heart-shaped crayons for Miss to give to her friends at school, like the ones shown on my friend's blog here, but smaller. They were inexpensive and pretty easy to do. The hardest part was getting the paper off the crayons (even soaking them in warm water didn't work for many of them). The girls loved breaking the crayons up and putting them into the molds. Miss specially chose which crayon each of her friends would receive and she was very excited to go to school yesterday and give these special gifts to the other kids. Mission accomplished.
Miss had a great time at her school party, as did I.
She made another craft at her party, a potpourri ball. She also gave me another school-made gift that is made with paper hearts, her thumb prints, glitter, and her attempt to write her name, all laminated into one big beautiful work of art that currently hangs in a place of honor on our sliding glass door. She was so proud and excited to give these gifts to me that she had made.
When we got home, she and Lass had fun going through her box of Valentines from the other kids in her class.
Then we made special Valentines to give to Daddy, which they excitedly ran to give him when he got home from work last night. And as we do every day, we gave lots of hugs and kisses and "I love yous" and "You're my wonderful girls," etc. Just because that's what we do. I always want my girls to know that, on Valentine's or any other day, showing your love for someone, and thus the genuineness of their expressions of love for you, is always about what you do, day to day, not how much you spend or how grand your gestures on one day of the year. A happy life is made up of lots of small moments, not just the few big ones that tend to get lots of attention.
And speaking of showing your love through the things you do, last night I attempted to make paleo-friendly brownies for Miss to take to school today. Since her birthday is on Saturday and she won't be back to school before then, I wanted to send her with a special birthday treat to share with her friends at school today. She requested brownies. I wanted to make them myself and make them relatively healthy, though still a "treat." I had the best of intentions. Unfortunately, last night I had a bit of a mom failure, because the brownies just didn't taste that good. They turned out how I think they're supposed to. They're edible, and not horrible. But they don't taste like brownies. And if I'm going to send my child to school with a treat to share with her friends for her birthday, I'm going to make sure it's yummy, for pete's sake. So, I made a run to the grocery store last night, when I otherwise would have been composing this Valentine's Day blog post, and grabbed some grocery-store-bakery-made mini cupcakes. They're good, and I think they were a hit with the kids. So even though I totally flopped in my Mother-of-the-Year-all-natural-gluten-free-super-delicious-brownie attempt, the late night trip to the grocery store saved the day. I feel like a dolt and it sucked to make a run to the grocery store at 9pm, but that's okay. And that's why my Valentine's Day post is a day late. Hope you had a Happy Valentine's Day. We did.