I decided in early February that I now hate Valentine's Day. Now, I really don't mind a day focused on loving others...
It's just that this year, I have five young children in school. And one of those children is in two different preschool classes. So, this means I (er...I mean, my children!) had six different classes (and 7 teachers) to prepare valentines for. Gone are days when a little card is enough! Each valentine needs an accompanying "gift." Since we are on a tight budget, I got the biggest bag of dum-dum lollipops that I could find and called it a day!
The writing of the valentines took several stressful afternoons. My 7- and 8-year-olds were fairly independent...after I printed out their class lists, helped them sort out the cards to have the proper number of "girl" and "boy" cards, and attached the stickers and tattoos. My 5-year-old was semi-independent. But I had to do the whole job for the almost-3 and 4-year-olds...with a 1-year-old grabbing my leg desperately wanting to be included in the activity! Not to mention that there were six parties which required me to send in food. Enough...
As I was doing the dinner dishes the night of all the Valentine's Day parties, I was feeling relieved that it was all over. The children were delighted with their valentines, and I had run around behind the picking up the pieces of half-eaten candy and broken trinkets. The house was pretty much back in order, and there was the potential of a return to "normal" (which is plenty crazy on its own!).
Then my 1st grader, Joseph, approached me. He had something in his hands and I could tell that he was very excited to give it to me. I noticed that it was a valentine as I quickly dried my hands. I remembered that I had never cleaned out the papers from his book bag that afternoon (my regular habit) as I had been obsessed with wiping out all signs of Valentine's Day. I would've found the valentine sooner if I had done that. But then I might not have had this moment...
On the front was a big heart that had been created with little crumpled up pieces of tissue paper. It read, "I love you to pieces." On the back, he had written in his 1st grade handwriting and spelling the answer to several questions. For example, "I love it when you...make my bed." "I love it when you...take me on vakashun (vacation)." The answers were totally appropriate for a 7-year-old boy.
But then I read the last question. It read, "I want to go with you to ____." Joseph wrote, "I want to go with you to hevin (heaven)."
Tears stung my eyes as I held him tight. He struggled to get out of my embrace and go back to playing. But I was totally refreshed and renewed. My burdens felt light. The nagging voice that reminds me of all the ways that I'm failing was silenced. I was happy and peaceful.
Could he possibly have written a better answer? I could not think of a single solitary thing. He nailed the whole meaning of life. He wants to go to heaven!!! Every mother's prayer came to my lips: God, help my sweet boy to always have the light to know and grace to do. Please protect him from all illness and accidents. Please grant him a long life doing your will. And, then to heaven for eternity.
After all, doesn't everything I do...a hundred children's valentines included...come back to this? My entire life's purpose: To get my husband and children to heaven (and please God, myself)!
I've decided that I really love Valentine's Day! And that really rolls off the tongue since I'm writing this on February 15th!
Copyright 2015, Trish Bolster
Image: by raincarnation40, CC0 Public Domain, Pixabay
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