Millions of construction paper cut-outs, a quadruple batch of ValenSLIME and pink organs on a plate. It must be Valentine's Day.
As it always does, it warmed my heart to see paper plate pockets, filled to the brim, opened up to reveal lots of Valentine drawings and pompom critters and perler bead creatures and rainbow loom gifts pop out from child to child. The children were busy this year- instigated by a caring big sister who made sure everyone was lavished with love.
I love watching the giver of the gifts, as they excitedly explain just what/how/when the gift came to be but I particularly love watching brothers and sisters receiving gifts. No matter how humble an attempt by even the littlest children, the receivers are always so complementary and genuinely charmed by the scraps of scribbled paper wrinkled up and shoved in.
It does a Mama heart good.
Do you know how Valentine's Day originated?
Valentine was a third century pastor who was imprisoned for his faith. While imprisoned, he would write small notes on leaves he was able to pluck from a tree right outside his cell, meant to encourage the members of his congregation. These little "Valentine Cards" expressed his love for the flock and his hope that they would demonstrate like love toward one another. Eventually, the tradition grew for Christians to exchange notes of love and encouragement to one another on his birthday, February 14th. **
I printed out that little explanation and included it in my own grown-up valentines because, well, how superior a thing is that than the red hearts and box of chocolates that is now the be all and end all of the day? How sad to have such a small view of such a great moment in history.
I hope that you found yourself encouraged in your calling, in ways great and small, this Valentine's Day.
And maybe, from now on, Valentine's Day won't just be about romance but about the truest love there ever was. And people who may not have any romantic love in their life won't need to feel left out or forlorn. Because they can be encouraged too- and we can do the encouraging.
** Just another tidbit from that gem of a book The Christian Almanac: A Book of Days Celebrating History's Most Significant People & Events. An absolute must for every family, in my opinion. We have loved our copy so much that when I left accidentally left it in the flower circle last summer and it got caught in a downpour (and thus, ruined) I bought another one immediately to replace it. I have never done that before with a book...I just couldn't imagine our days without it.