The Chaos

The Chaos

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hallmark Holidays

Valentine's Day.
The bane of the "singles" world.
A day of candied hearts, chocolate, and cheesy cards and presents.

I admit that the day itself seems like a waste of money and energy.
And for those without a significant other, it can be a depressing day with constant reminders that they are not romantically involved with anyone. The societal expectations include expensive jewelry, fancy dinners, and intimate encounters. I have spent every Valentine's since my senior year of high school in a relationship, lavished with gifts (cause I'm just so darn cute), and enjoyed the day of lovey dovey goodness.

Then I had kids.
Valentine's day became about much more than romance for me when I realized I had these little people to kiss and hug on the ominous 14th of February. I began dressing them in themed outfits, shopping for Valentine's stuffed animals, and choosing silly kid cards. Our house for the last seven years has been much more than a day intended just for me and Michael. It is a family event.

I realize that we don't need this one day a year to show each other love, but it is a sweet reminder and an opportunity to do something out of the ordinary to make each other feel special. And in this house, I am all about doing things out of the ordinary, keeping us entertained and interested.

If you read my blog from yesterday "Home is where the faith starts", then you know that I have given a lot of thought to the power of faith in our family. So I decided that this Valentine's Day needed to be a conscious effort in bringing an element of faith into the mix of festivities.

Michael and I did our ritualistic last minute shopping for some silly gifts including candy, little stuffed animals, and stickers. The girls had school and the boys hardly knew there was anything different to the day. But then it was late afternoon. I instructed them to clean up their rooms and messes in the living room, change into something red, and then come downstairs. While I made dinner, they busied themselves making Valentine's for one another.

I dyed pancake batter to make pink pancakes for dinner and cut them into heart shapes using cookie cutters from Grandma Gaffner. We set the table, including the cards from Nana and Papa Lancaster, and they excitedly joined me for a syrup-y Valentine's dinner. Michael arrived home a little late and the kids were anxious to open their bag of goodies. They tore into their cards, anxious to have them read aloud and smiled over the candy and stuffed animals.

As dinner was finished and the kids helped with the after dinner chores, I could hardly contain my excitement. I had an interesting game planned, a game that I am calling the Valentine's Hot Seat. As soon as the kitchen was clean, we moved to the living room and I explained how this "game" would work. I made two silly little Valentine's headbands. Each person would have an opportunity to wear the headband and sit in the center of the room while the rest of us shared at least one reason why we love the one in the "Hot Seat". It was so sweet and so much fun. They were thrilled to sit in the center of the room and giggled and grinned while we shared what we loved so much about each person. My favorite response was Christopher who humbly smiled and said "thank you" after each loving compliment.

Some of my favorite "I love you because" moments were, I love you because....
- you're cute
- your smile makes me happy
- you play with me
- you are funny
- you give me big hugs
- you love me
- you encourage me


We should have video-taped this moment because I am positive that I will relive that moment for years to come, remembering each smile, hearing each little voice, recognizing how much we all truly love and appreciate one another. It was a wonderful lovey dovey Valentine's moment.

We completed the evening by telling Jesus why we loved Him and talking about how if we didn't have God, we wouldn't have love because God IS love.

Love it is such an overused and misunderstood word.
Yet, I think in one evening activity, my kids grasped the fullness of the concept of love both in giving it and receiving it. And when it was time for bed, they were all still grinning from the night's festivities. I think we all went to bed last night with our hearts full and a smile on our face. And that, you just can't get from Hallmark.

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