I love the Brady Bunch. That cute blended family nearly always gets along and they rally behind one another in times of need.
Sadly, we are not the Brady family.
This may come as a shock but, unlike your perfect families, there are moments around here when everyone seems to be looking out for #1. I hope this isn’t true at your house, but we’ve had a few Valentines Days that ended up being filled with way too much chocolate (if that’s possible) and not enough LOVE. The kids come bounding down the stairs full of expectations of candy from friends and a gift from the mama and the papa, but aren’t really worried about how they are going to show love for others. I’m sure when they’re teenagers I’ll be repressing their “expression” but for now a little thoughtful kindness would go a long way!
In an effort to prolong this fun holiday and refocus it on the love instead of the candy, we started a tradition that’s worked out quite nicely. SECRET CUPID! Here’s the gist of it: for the week prior to Valentines Day everyone gets one heart for each member of the family other than themselves. The baby was exempt. We figured that her generous smiles and the rarity of her blowouts are service enough. The hearts say “I _________ because I love you. Love, Your Secret Cupid.” I just printed 6 to a page in 3 columns, drew hearts around them and cut them out. Easy. In the blank the Cupid writes down what service, or kindness they did for the other person and leaves it where the recipient can find it. It’s fun to see the wheels turning and the excitement when one of our children is able to secretly serve someone.
Here are some of the ideas our family has used:
gave you a hug and kiss before I went to school
made your bed
played with you
made cookies with you
cleaned your room
did your laundry
fixed your broken sleeping bag
played paper dolls with you
made you booties
folded your clothes
I figure that most of what a mom does fits under the service category so I decided that I would do whatever each child wanted to do. My daughter and I had played with my circa 1979 paper dolls the day before and loved it, so when I gave her the choice of anything she chose paper dolls. I bet my Milton Bradley “Magic Mary Ann” was so excited to be played with two days in a row after 30 years of being in a box. We had so much fun! It made me realize that I needed to do this A LOT more often. One of my sons chose making cookies. I even told him that I would play video games if that’s what he wanted to do. I should make it clear that I do NOT like video games and he was shocked that I was willing, but realizing just how bad I would be, he opted for cookies. Smart boy! From that activity I realized that we should limit how frequently we make cookies because cookie dough = irresistibly delectable! We had a great time though. He had had a bummer of a day and it meant a lot to him that just he and I could spend that time together.
Discovering little hearts with thoughtful ideas all over the house has been wonderful. It’s also fun to see that sneaky sparkle in their eyes as they slyly do something nice for someone else. I love it! I love the results so much we may need to create “Secret Ground Hog” and “Secret Uncle Sam.” Okay, maybe not, but this is definitely a tradition that will last through the years in our family.
So get your hearts out and make this “Love Day” all about love!