If you don’t know me personally, or haven’t scoured my “About” page, you may not know that I have four kids. Yes, that’s right, four. Three boys and one girl. Ask anyone and they will tell you that they are like Russian dolls. They all look exactly the same and when we are out in public, we are constantly turning heads. Especially if they are lined up in descending order.
They say two is the new three, and four, well four is like the new eight to strangers. Things are a lot of fun around our house. Noisy, but fun. Our children range in ages from eight to nine months old, so we run the gamut of stages. We’ve got two wanting to play Fortnite, one who is still singing “Let It Go”, and my sweet baby boy who hasn’t stopped smiling since he was born.
But, despite the difference in ages and stages, the one thing that rings true of all four is that they love to be loved. If you’ve been around the block a time or two, you’ve probably already heard of The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. According to Dr. Chapman, there are five love languages (ways that people speak and understand emotional love): Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. If you’ve been in any kind of relationship, I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that this is true. And for us, this is especially the case with our children. They are gifted and talented in different ways, have different dispositions, and varying “base volume levels.” (Yes, I’m talking about my spirited son, Leo.) And, the way they like to be loved is totally different for each of them as well. This year for Valentine’s Day, I was determined that I would try and celebrate the love and the uniqueness of each of our children during February, the best I could. Because sometimes, in hustle and bustle of the day-to-day, they don’t all always get what they need.
It started on February 1 with writing one affirmation on a heart and taping it to their bedroom door. Every morning when they woke up, from February 1-14, another heart with another affirmation was added. My husband thought I was crazy. “One heart, every day, for fourteen days, for four kids?” I looked at him, “Yeah, so…” He just smiled. Although only two of our four children can read, taking the time to do this each night was a reminder to me of all of the wonderful things about each child that I was thankful for and could celebrate with them. Juliette loved having those be read to her. But, surprisingly, it was most heart-warming to see Leo really feel validated by my words each day. The sheer joy he received from it resulted in him starting to make hearts for me and validate me each and every day in return.
And, while neither of my sons wanted to make or take Valentine’s to school for their classmates, my daughter relished spending time together crafting Valentine’s for her friends, and baking X’s, O’s and heart-shaped cut-out cookies with me, my mom, and her godmother in an impromptu Galentine’s baking day because her “quality time” fuel tank was full!
My oldest Jac, was phased by none of this. If you haven’t already deduced it, his love language is receiving gifts. Preferably Pokémon cards. So what’s a mother to do? Target run and done!
None of these things– the hearts with affirmations, the Valentines for school, the Pokémon cards, or the baking was grandiose or expensive. It just took a little extra time and a little bit of effort. And, the important thing was that each kid felt fulfilled and loved!
So, if you’re sitting there grumbling about Valentine’s Day, or anything really, just remember this. It’s easy to celebrate the big things. Especially with parties and events. Trust me! I know! But sometimes, it’s even better to celebrate the silly little things.
I was talking to a dear friend over coffee yesterday morning and she asked what Jordan and I were doing for Valentine’s Day. I shared our idea for one of our little at-home nights, which includes everyone at home and no babysitter. (Don’t laugh out loud at me!) I make an easy dinner for the kids so that we can quickly scoot them in to their pjs, while we pop some popcorn, and find a movie on Netflix. And then, we head to the dining room. Sometimes, we’ll order in and eat on the fancy, impractical China we got for our wedding (after I dust if off of course) and pop some champagne. Or, we might go more casual and I’ll make a mean charcuterie board for two and mix my guy and Old Fashion. But, it’s just the two of us. Uninterrupted. (Well, ideally!) After twenty years together, twelve and half years married, and four kids later, it’s nice to laugh and dream and flirt on a Thursday night.
A celebration can be anything. Hearts on the door. Cut-out cookies. Pokémon cards. Tacos and a RomCom, a poem and some flowers, or Fondue for two. It doesn’t matter what it is. Or the reason why. I mean, “just because” is definitely fine by me! But, either way, don’t let life slip away. Be Intentional. Celebrate People. Celebrate Love. Celebrate the Every Day. Celebrate Always. Even if it is just a Hallmark holiday.