Someday I will have a calm Valentines day, but not this year, and probably not as long as I have children in elementary school. It’s been a frenzied, crazy, wild day and will yet get crazier before it ends.
While I have 3 minutes, I want to record what I’ve loved about today so far.
I’ve been collecting valentine themed socks for all my kids over the past couple of weeks. It was so much fun to toss them each a goofy pair of socks as they got ready for school this morning. Comparing socks brought smiles and laughter in the early morning hours and made them all feel special. My favorite pair isn’t pictured, though. I finally found socks for my oldest son late last night: a pair of long socks with hamburgers on the sides. So funny. We all laughed at them. I hope their silly socks were a reminder all day that I love them.
Before I raced to the elementary school to help with a party, I got a valentine ready for each of my children. I letterpressed the pink bees a few weeks ago. On the back is a note to each of them telling them something I especially love about them right now. I still remember a valentine I got from my mom as a girl… it made me feel so special. I hope they feel the same way.
My husband surprised me early this morning with roses, chocolate and a card that I really enjoyed. What a wonderful way to start the day! I am oh, so lucky to have him for my Valentine.
Unfortunately I didn’t see the early morning exchange coming so he had to wait for his simple gift (a card and his two favorite treats). It’s on his desk…
I used my L Letterpress to make his card, as well. One of my goals this year is to use it more and I’m pleased with how it turned out. I hope he likes it!
This morning my 12 year old son expressed a desire to give a special valentine. The announcement sort of came out of the blue and VERY last minute. I let him use one of my roses and some of my chocolate and he was off on a stealth mission, which he happily reported on after school. No one knows it was from him. What was really cool about it was the second story he shared on the drive home today. He had the impression that he should buy a rose for a girl at school who is very quiet, has no friends, and gets little attention from anyone. Again, he did it anonymously. He has the same 8th period class as her, and so he was there when they came in to deliver the flowers. The joy on his face as he described the surprise and delight on her face when her name was the first one called was my favorite moment of the day. He felt so good about what he did. I love seeing him find joy in noticing others and finding ways to build them. And as a mother who has been on her knees praying for something – anything – positive to happen to one of my children at school, I feel proud that my son might have answered such a prayer today. I love that boy!
My house is a mess even though I’ve almost exclusively been working on cleaning it all week. I’m supposed to be leaving town at 5 a.m. tomorrow morning but find I have many hours of work ahead of me… yet I know I need sleep since I’m driving and can’t afford to be drowsy or get a headache. My to-do list is long; in fact I have three lists. Let’s hope I at least cover the basics before I go!
And, because we have so many stages here, I think it will be fun to record how each of my children have approached this day:
15 year old son: couldn’t care less what day it is. Calls his snowboard his girlfriend and I’m just fine with him not being attached to anybody.
14 year old daughter: couldn’t care more what day it is. Got a couple of roses at school from boys (friends, not anyone she has a crush on). Took valentines for her girlfriends.
12 year old son: really cared about how some things turned out today. See above. Was bummed that he didn’t get a valentine party at school and was, therefore, really happy about the one I put in his mailbox.
10 year old daughter: the party I helped with in her classroom was the loudest party I’ve ever been to. There is quite a group in her class this year. She’s my girl who’s friends with all the boys but in love with none of them. I must add a side note here about the noise level in the classroom. I watched all the kids to see why they were so loud, and really, everyone was just being normal and a handful were pretty loud. The scene made me smile and laugh out loud with relief. I thought, “My children are totally NORMAL.”
8 year old daughter: put lots of effort into her Valentine box and was very particular about how things were done. Brought home a beautiful heart wreath.
6 year old son: had no interest in decorating his box, but was thrilled with his candy haul after school today.
5 year old daughter: made tons of handwritten notes for her family, loved her new socks so much that she said to me, “I’m going to keep these and clean them up someday and give them to my little girl for Valentines when I’m a mom.”
3 year old daughter: took her socks off and put them back on over and over again, changed clothes 13 times before 2 pm, loved being the baby sister at the school party, quietly made 3 of the craft I was in charge of.
It really has been fun to watch each of them enjoying the day on their own level.
There’s been another, second level, of “frantic” in my heart today. I’m supposed to be leaving town with three of the children at 5 a.m. tomorrow morning. The amount of work I still have to do is a little daunting, and try as I might to make progress on my to-do list, it’s still far too long. My house is a mess even though I’ve almost exclusively been working on cleaning it all week. I’ve folded something like 20 loads of laundry this week hoping to “get ahead” since I won’t be around to do it for a few days. The only difference it seems to have made is to increase the rate at which my youngest two girls change clothes. Why do I expect the perfect house, perfectly organized wife and mother, perfectly scheduled everything right at the moment I’m trying to prepare for life to be lived by this family in two different places?
In a little while my husband and I will go grab a bite to eat. Nothing fancy; there’s no time for the wait at a restaurant. Then I’ll come home, work like crazy and then drop into bed, hopefully in time to avoid being drowsy while driving and to hold off a headache. I keep telling myself it will all work out, and then running around like it won’t. I’ve promised myself this, though. While we eat dinner together, just the two of us, I will push all my stresses aside and memorize the moment. How handsome he looks, how much fun it is to smile and laugh together, how perfect he is for me, how much I love him, how grateful I am that we’ve rolled up our sleeves together to figure out this business of raising eight children.
My heart overflows with gratitude, joy and love. What a fabulous life it is!