For Jacob's class party (his first V-day party ever!) I thought about doing a fancy Pinterest project. But then I remembered a very strong lesson from my own elementary days. In third grade we were learning about the Oregon trail and were assigned to go home and build covered wagons. My mom pointed me to the craft supplies and I went to work. I returned to school with a flimsy shoe box creation that looked like it very well may have died of the covered-wagon equivalent of dysentery. All the other kids came to school with perfectly crafted wood-built wagons with perfectly-sewn fabric covers. One kid even had a wooden sign on the back of her wagon that said, "Oregon or bust." I didn't know what it meant, but it looked fancy.
My mom picked me up from school that day and I remember crying to her about how I was so embarrassed at how ugly my covered wagon was next to all the other kid's wagons. She looked right at me and said, "It might not be perfect but you did it all by yourself! The other kids had their parents to their project for them." I thought back on all the other fancy wagons and it occurred to me that she was right. I was suddenly proud of my shitty old shoe box covered with foil. For some reason, that is one of the lessons from elementary school that stuck with me the most all these years. It's not about being perfect. It's about being genuine and honest and trying really hard.
That's a long way of saying... I made Jacob make his own Valentine's Day cards. I was really tempted to make something Pinteresty for him (hey, crafts aren't just for kids!). But really, what's that going to do for him? So one day last week during the car ride home from school, Jacob and I chatted and came up with a design together: a card in the shape of an Xbox controller with heart buttons and the greeting "You Win!" I helped trace the controller shape onto pieces of paper and Jacob took it from there. The perfectionist in me really REALLY wanted to jump in and "fix" up or improve a couple things. It took all my will to restrain myself. And they turned out awesome! Jacob was so proud of himself. His own little covered wagon.
This afternoon, I left work early to attend Jacob's Valentine's Day party. It was just as awesome as I remember elementary school Valentine's Day parties to be: Valentine's for everyone, lots of treats (when I was a kid the Valentine's cards with lifesavers were the most coveted!), messages from friends, self-decorated Valentine mailbox/envelope, doilies and construction paper and hearts EVERYWHERE.
I sat at Jacob's table and chatted with his tablemates (Kindergartners are SO STINKING CUTE). Everyone kept exclaiming that it was "THE BEST DAY EVER." Then Jacob and I dug into his Valentine envelope and perused all the cards and took a nice inventory of his treats (lots of lolipops!). Valentine's Day is the best. Seriously, why don't workplaces do this?
Before we left, Jacob's teacher and her husband (who comes in every Friday to do science projects with the kids), both pulled me aside separately and told me how awesome Jacob is and how much they love him. My mommy heart swelled with pride and I tried not to let it go to my head. But you know what? He IS pretty awesome. And I have no idea how he turned out this awesome. Because he is our first baby (trial model) and we are pretty much just winging everything as we go.
Yesterday I took all the kids down to the park to enjoy the rare 60 degree January weather. The weather man said the weather we are having now is usually the HIGH for May. WTF? No snowmageddon here. Anyway, I told the kids that if they let me snap some fun Valentine's Day pictures that I would buy them ice cream (yes, ice cream in January, that is how warm it is!).
And they were seriously perfect.
HAPPY HEART DAY!