To My Sons On Valentine’s Day

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There is a box in my closet that is full of treasures.

It is filled with drawings, hand prints and many cards of crayon-drawed hearts with scribbles of “Mom”. My younger son, you are quite the card maker. Every time that you excitedly come and say that you have something for me, I see the love in your eyes and the joy in your smile as you hand me your work of art that you are so proud of. That makes those cards so very special. Many of these cards came from you boys at Valentine’s Day as you learned about it from cartoon episodes and preschool.

I’ll never forget the Valentine’s Day that you, my older son, came home with a girl’s name written all over your papers, surrounded with hearts. You were four years old. I asked you about the name on your paper. You shrugged and said, “She’s a friend.” “Oh,” I said nonchalantly. “She bosses me around on the playground.” I felt a squeeze on my heart as I pictured my natural-born leader willingly taking orders from a free-spirited young lady on the jungle-gym while I pondered what was going on in your little heart.

At your age now, I remember Valentine’s Day as a fun occasion to pass out Valentines at school. I was always excited to choose the most amazing box of valentines at the drug store. But by middle school, there was this thing called “going out.” Valentine’s Day seemed to signify that I was supposed to have someone special in my life and it was awkward that I didn’t.

In high school, everyone seemed to talk about the long-standing couples in our small school around Valentine’s Day like celebrity gossip. “Did you hear what so-and-so are doing for Valentine’s Day? Did you see what he got her?” Valentine’s Day became a time to feel left out.

And while one might dismiss high school relationships as something that doesn’t last, I was happily surprised at my recent twenty-year high school reunion to see how many of these couples have been married to each other since graduation. What an amazing story! For me though, Valentine’s Day was an empty holiday until your dad and I started dating. I just had to patiently wait for my Valentine. This will be our 15th Valentine’s Day together!

Now as a mom, I see Valentine’s Day as an occasion to shower you boys with affection and have fun celebrating how much I love you with candy, affirmation and small gifts. I know that it won’t last forever. Someday, you’re not going to get excited about kind words or a basket of goodies from your mom. I used to get many cards at Valentine’s Day and throughout the year, but not so much any more. You’re growing up.

I hope that as you get older, you know that you are deserving of being treated with love and respect and that you appreciate people who are kind and generous in your life. I hope you think of Valentine’s Day not as a day to feel left out but as a day to share in joy and laughter with others and that someday you will find your Valentine.

But for now, I am grateful for these days that I get to be your Valentine. And I will always cherish the box in my closet that is full of treasures.

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Jackie R.
Jackie is the Founder of Rochester Mom Collective. She grew up in Ohio and moved to California to work in film where she had lots of adventures on movie sets. She met her husband in Hollywood and they moved to the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after getting married. In San Francisco, Jackie found work at a medical clinic where she gathered parenting resources for new moms in need. After being on the West Coast for fifteen years, they moved with their three children to the Rochester area to be near family. Jackie has operated her own photography business, Jackie Rutan Photography, for ten years. Jackie enjoys her quality time with friends and family, fellowshipping at her church and drinking iced coffee.