Valentine’s Day in our little family has never been a very big deal. Like I said in my last blog post, usually Jeremy and I make plans to have some alone time. But that’s because the kids were younger and while they enjoyed the balloons and candy, they never really GOT the idea of V-Day. They just didn’t understand.
But this year, THIS YEAR, I wanted to do things differently. I knew Shade was old enough to understand it all now. Heck, next year I’m sure we’ll be making a ton of V-Day cards for her classmates. But I wanted to introduce her to the idea of Valentine’s Day cards by sending some off to family and friends.
So that’s what we did. I thought about having them make their own cards, but I decided that I wasn’t quite ready for the mess that would bring. I’m glad I did, too. Because even without all the cutting, gluing, and glitter, they still found a way to make it as chaotic as possible.
We bought some cards from the store. “Home” for Shade and “The Avengers” for Atlas — who figured out how to say Hulk perfectly and now that’s pretty much ALL he says.
“Can we start now?”
So we started. It was SO much fun, but also terribly stressful. A thousand questions from Shade on every little thing and Atlas running around and completely ignoring me.
“Pick a Valentine, please.” I said. No answer. “Hey, Atlas! Quit beating up on Daddy and pick a Valentine.”
Still no response. “OK. I’ll just pick one for you.”
“NOOOOOOO! Me!” He said as he finally ran over to me.
Now I’ve been working with Shade on writing. She can write a lot of letters of the alphabet and she can write her name. But for some reason, this day, she decided that she can’t remember anything about any of that. I tried to get her to write her name on a separate piece of paper and she acted like she had never held a pen before. Seriously. So I ended up taking her hand and writing the “To:” and “From:” sections on the Valentine’s for her…which had its own problems because I’m right-handed and this girl only writes with her left. But she didn’t complain too much. Sorry, girly.
And then, of course, when I tried to write with Atlas’ hand he was OK with it at first. But then decided that he’s a big boy and can totally write even though his big sister can’t. So he did everything he could to push me and Jeremy away from him so he could work his magic.
From there it was just a big struggle of “OK I know you can write. You’re awesome at this. Can I see your hand now so we can write your actual name and not a scribbly scrib?”
I’m bringing all of this up because I want to be HONEST with you guys. I could take pretty pictures of us working on Valentine’s Day cards and post the pictures and never mention all the headaches that came along with it. But that’s not being truthful. And that’s not parenting at all. Parenting is this really weird mixture of being overjoyed and stressed out at the exact same time. Of being thrilled when they try to claim their independence but also upset when they don’t obey.
And even when I’m trying to do something fun with them and they drive my crazy in the process. I’m still SO PROUD of them. I’m proud of Shade for thinking REALLY HARD about which Valentine to send to whom. And I’m proud of Atlas for having the DESIRE to write his own name.
At the end of the day when all the Valentine’s were picked out, made out, and stuffed into envelopes. There was a definite sense of accomplishment. Shade couldn’t stop jumping up and down and asked about when everyone would get their Valentine’s Day cards and Atlas was jumping right along with her. They knew they did something important. Something that was fun for them and something that would make their friends and family HAPPY.
And that’s what exciting to see as a parent. Even when we’re stressed out and totally struggling to keep our cool. Everything we do as parents is to make sure that our kids are happy. So it’s amazing to see them care about making OTHERS happy. That’s a success, I’d say. And that makes everything worth it.