I tell my daughters I love them about 14 times a day. They reciprocate half the time and ask for something (unrelated) the rest. If they don’t spontaneously hug me and I try to go in for my own they will often give me a drive by hug and requisite cheek before rushing off to their next task. I wait for and savor snuggle sessions in front of a book or TV show. I know that even those might not last forever.
None of this phases me.
For as tiring and mind numbing child rearing can be, with it’s “sit stills, don’t put that in your mouth, leave your sister alone, why can’t you play nice together, go wash your hands, please don’t touch that, sit still, sit down, stay in your chair, be careful, you can do it, try again, time to clean up, help me please, bed time, come back here, get dressed, no, actually brush your teeth, be kind, make good choices, hold on, one second, I’m not an octopus, no whining, slow down, ” it is also full of the greatest, most rewarding feelings I’ve ever felt. Untethered, sloppy, wholehearted, amazing.
Perhaps that’s why I look forward to and enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day with my family. It’s more of a day of family love than a chance for my husband and I to escape the madness (though, trust me, we do that too! Regularly.). This year, I’m doing something based on a wonderful idea I saw at Decorating by Day, where the blogger wrote things she loved about her kids and posted them on hearts that she taped to their door every morning beginning February 1st and ending with Valentine’s Day.
This is a very easy, no frills idea that I know will make me feel as good about my kids as it makes them feel about themselves. I’m also planning to fill up my own bedroom door for my husband. It doesn’t take long when we are “having a loud discussion” for our daughters to be right at our side, wondering why we aren’t apologizing or why we are upset. Just as those moments make them sad or scared or nervous, I see their faces when we hug or kiss or hold hands and they light up. In addition to showing them how much I love their daddy, I also show him, which is where all this family love started in the first place. And in the rush of the every day, we all want to be seen and heard and loved. Even married people who say things like, “oh, we’re still celebrating that?” when asked about this year’s Valentine’s Day plans. (Yes, that’s what my husband said to me and we had a ridiculously good laugh).