Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Love Notes

The girls in this family like to write.  We like to write stories, letters, wordy emails, notes in lunch boxes, notes in travel bags, messages on white boards, sticky notes on counter tops, not to mention all the notebooks and lists. I think we really just like cute paper, pretty pens, and the notion of hearing ourselves think out loud – or for that matter, write out loud.  You get the idea.

Because today is Valentine’s Day, I am reminded of some of my favorite love notes, and they are not what you think.  They are not mushy, eloquently written cards enveloped in shiny foil or velum overlays.  Nope.  My collection of treasures are scribbled on crumpled paper, index cards, and sticky notes like this one that was taped on the peanut butter jar.  Maggie thoughtfully put it there so that I would find it while making lunches early in the morning.  I saved it and tape it to each new jar of peanut butter.  It sits proudly crowned in the pantry and I smile every time I lay my hands it.

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One day while doing the normal around the house chores I came across this note from Emily.  I am used to finding scraps of paper around the house with little notes and scribbled messages.  But for some reason, this one came on a day when I was busy and hurried and not expecting it.  It was tucked carefully inside a small envelope and she left it in an unsuspecting place that only I would see – which somehow made it more special.  So sweet.  It made me feel so special and loved.  It put a little spring in my step and an extra wide smile on my face.  Oh me, oh my.  So lucky, so loved.  Me, me, me…

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I bounced around the house continuing my cleaning, still feeling special on my own little cloud of happiness.  Me, me, me.  La, la, la.  And then I found another note.  The same small white envelope and the same girly scripted handwriting.  This one was on Jason’s bedside table, nestled between the large stack of books, but sticking out just enough for it to catch his eye at the end of the day.  And I stopped in my tracks.  She made one for both of us, and carefully placed them where we would be surprised by our finds.

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As I carried on throughout the day, I came to find notes all around the house, one for each member of the family.  Each one was cleverly, purposely placed so that it would take us by surprise.  Every note to each person said something different, but the message was simple and the same.  She just wanted us to know she loved us all, each one of us, and that we were all special to her in our own unique way.

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I very quickly realized that the little love note I found was not just for me – clearly Emily had left them for everyone.  Gone was the little voice inside my head singing notes of how special I was, the selfish tune of inflated self importance.  It was replaced instead by a choir of gratitude, reminding me how lucky I am – how lucky we all are.  While my note made me feel special, it was no less valued because it was one of many.  The truly beautiful part about all these notes is that they did not discriminate.  On this ordinary day in the middle of October, everyone in the family was gifted to a reminder of how special we are to her.

And it was a little whispered reminder to me how of how much better it is to share love with ALL those around you rather than just keep it for a select few.  Isn’t everyone worthy of signs of love and grace or unexpected kind gestures – family members, classmates, neighbors, strangers in the grocery store, even those who test our patience?  Isn’t that one of the miracles of love – the more give the more you receive? And don’t some of the smallest gestures speak louder than the longest words? Sometimes I think we forget this.

Today, thanks to the love notes, I am reminded.

 

The Best Valentine’s Day

The night before Valentine’s Day the stars aligned and everyone was home for dinner.  I love these nights.  Now that everyone goes in different directions with various activities, it doesn’t happen as often as I would like it to.  The kids were all abuzz talking about the valentines they had made and plans for school for the next day.  One strand of conversation led to the other, as it often does at our table for 6, and Jason and I found ourselves being asked about our past Valentine’s Days together.  We had a few good stories for the kids and they listened intently with broad smiles on their faces, hanging on our every description, their minds trying to imagine us as in our younger days.

We told them a few good stories of past Valentine’s Days, most of which they had heard before.  Like the time we borrowed a car (neither of us had a car in college) and spent the afternoon in a beautiful local park and went to dinner at an Italian place that we really couldn’t afford.  We laughed retelling the story because it wasn’t an expensive or fancy place by any means, but we were both broke and it was a stretch at the time.  We were just thrilled to be out and away from campus alone together.

We truly thought we were all that and a bag of chips.  And we were.

It was a great, innocent and lovely day.

We then shared our favorite story – the one they knew was coming. The special valentine that lasted for months and was shared with the entire campus.  Jason decided to leave me a large valentine message that I would see first thing in the morning when I opened the shades.  He wrote with flour in very large letters “I (heart) YOU KEL” on the lawn in front of the dorm.

It was sweet.  It was cute.  It was large.  It made me smile and my heart swell.  It radiated in the sunlight!

And then, the next day…it rained.

And the flour turned to paste and did not wash away as Jason had planned.

In fact, it stayed for a very long time.  It eventually killed the grass, leaving a lasting valentine message that was burned into the lush lawn for all to see.  I am sure the groundskeepers who took meticulous care of our beautiful campus were not amused.  Nor likely were the other students who woke up to see my message every morning until spring bore new life and the grass finally grew.  But it is a great story and we laugh ourselves silly every time we tell it.

We especially laughed this time because for whatever reason, the kids thought it was supremely hilarious.  They have heard the story before but for some reason it was funnier that Valentine’s eve (perhaps it was the extra Fun-Dip I allowed them to have after school).  As things go, one funny story resulted in another funny story and on and on it went.  Eventually they were done giggling at our stories and had moved on to telling jokes.  They were having a ball, just laughing and being silly, making up names for each other and being ridiculous.  They were so enjoying each other that they didn’t notice that Jason and I were totally removed from their conversation and giggles.  I had gotten up from the table and started the dishes and Jason joined me at the sink.

Jason and I listened to them having fun in their own world at the table.  We looked at each other and smiled knowingly.  The stories we shared with them were funny to be sure.  But they were also somehow magical in that they held all the promises of our youth and the innocence of young, true love.

All the walking down memory lane that night was a treat, as it always is. But standing at the sink and watching our kids laugh and talk with each other was a true gift.  A moment to be savored.

In those few minutes it all came together for me – sharing the promises of the past with the gifts and joys of our present and future was a true blessing.

And I do believe that made it the best Valentine’s Day yet.