I know that Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day for sweethearts but what better sweethearts than our kids?
The Valentine’s memories that I have always have stirred me to make my children’s Valentine’s Day special and it extended over to my nieces and nephews as well. As for me and my children, of which there are two, I loved to sit down with them and make out their Valentine’s cards for school friends. We had a wonderful time shopping for not only the cards with the best sayings but the cards with the best candies attached!
I made a point of making up a Valentine’s package for my kids each year as well. I would peruse the Valentine candy isle and pick out all their favorites along with a special card just for them. They loved getting these gifts from mom and dad.
When my nieces and nephews were very small they lived in town with us and we saw them on a regular basis. When they became school age one of my brothers moved to another state and the other set of nephews moved to another part of our state. We were sad that we could not see them all the time but this made me even more determined to keep in close contact with them. That is a hard thing to do when children are so young but I was determined. My plan was to keep us on their minds by showering them with gifts on every occasion! Not only gifts but little notes and cards to keep us close.
Valentine’s Day was one of my favorite times to send my little care packages. One of my brothers has four children and the other has two. My oldest brother with two children and I did not always see things quite the same. He was anti candy at any time but I was often able to override his decision because his wife was my advocate. I am of the school of thought that a little candy now and then is good for the soul. So he tolerated my occasional overruling of his authority with a shrug of the shoulders and a non-approving glance.
Each year I would go shopping a few months before Valentines for small but meaningful gifts for each of the children and then nearer to Valentine’s Day I would pick up their favorite candies. They would drop me little hints on what those favorites were throughout the year by the way. My children joined in and helped me to make up these packages and we would all write out little Valentines for each child.
Every year my sister-in-laws would tell me that they awaited those packages as if it was Christmas and Santa was coming! It made my heart sing to think that we were able to give those kids such joy. They would call us up and chat about the things they found in their packages and my kids would get on the phone and share with them about their packages as well.
At our house we would make sugar cookie hearts with icing and sprinkles or a heart shaped Valentines cake. Sometimes we would sprinkle Valentine confetti on the white party table cloth we had and adding some red roses made the scene complete! Children get such joy out of simple things that do not have to cost a great deal of money; just a parent’s love and a little time.
I ended up carrying on this tradition not only on Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and their individual birthdays but on Easter and Independence Day as well. And on each of their birthdays I would also include some party favors for the other children as well. Sure, it made me the popular relative but that is not what I was going for at all. I wanted to stay connected to those kids just in case they needed another adult in their lifetime.
There are so many ways you can make people feel loved that do not cost a lot of money. Simple things like sending a card to remind them of your love or a few pieces of candy. My children have an aunt on my spouse’s side that always sent cards filled with confetti and after a while the kids knew not to fling open the envelope because it would fly all over. They got the biggest kick out of this small gesture. One year when my son was in high school he got the idea to turn it around on his aunt and he actually bought her a card and filled it with confetti and she was so pleased.
If you start when children are very young doing very simple things to let them know you love them they will remember. It seems that when we get older we sometimes lose sight of how important the small things are. We feel that they are not going to be appreciated if they are not elaborate gifts. I do not believe that to be true and I know that I carry a memory around in my own heart of a small gesture from as far back as I can remember.
My maternal grandmother was married twice and the second time she married a fellow that was kind of a tight wad but to be fair they did not have a great deal of money. Gram would put a dollar back here and there and hold on to them just so she could send each of her grandchildren a card with that dollar bill in it. Even when I was growing up that could not buy much but I always looked forward to grandma’s card and that dollar bill. To me it was like the story of the widow woman giving her tithe that the Lord honored because it was all she had compared to the rich man who gave a huge gift. She gave all she could and I loved her for it!
Never think that the thought is wasted or that if your gift is not large and showy it is not going to be appreciated. Sometimes it really is the thought that counts!
Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College. As president of morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.