A construction paper heart was my reminder of what our children really need. Not the extravagant, expensive toys, but the love and attention from their parents. A simple paper heart will do.
My daughter and I attend a class each week. We spend the first half hour in class together, then the parents leave the room for the remaining hour. The children learn and play with their teacher and classmates while the parents spend the time with the parent educator. The time is spent talking and encouraging each other in this parenting journey.
The week before Valentine’s Day, I walked into the parent room and found red and pink crafting materials all over the tables. While this refreshing time alone with the parents is usually a time to just sit back and chat about parenting, this day we had a project to do.
We all made Valentines for our children. We did this somewhat mindless activity while we continued our conversation. I know what my girl likes, so I put in a little extra time making it. She likes to carry around crafts that she makes so I figured she would enjoy getting a Valentine from me.
At the end of our hour together the parents all walked into the children’s room and gave them their Valentines. The ceremony of it all felt a little lame until I saw how excited she was to get a Valentine from me. She was beaming. She just stared at it and was almost in awe that I had made this for her.
I figured she would like it, but I was a bit surprised with how excited she was. She had made her own Valentine in class, but the Valentine I made for her was now much more exciting. Her own artwork went by the wayside as she stared at the paper heart that mom made especially for her.
Would she have been as excited about a $30 toy? Some random piece of plastic that I simply put on the conveyor belt at Target, purchased, and wrapped for her? I don’t think her face would have had the same smile.
Her grin showed me that she felt special. She felt loved. It was a simple heart that was not fancy or especially artsy, but that didn’t matter. She knew that mom made it just for her.
As we walked out of the classroom, she picked up the two hearts she made herself. She announced that one would be for me and one would be for dad. Because she felt so special getting a heart from me, she wanted to do the same with her hearts. She then asked if I had also made one for her little sister.
It warmed my heart to see her turn around and make sure that we were all covered. To make sure that we all had a pink paper heart of our own. She felt special because mom made one especially for her, so she then wanted to spread the love around.
That morning I was reminded that simple gestures of love matter.
Who are you going to make a paper heart for?