My (almost) 12 ½ year old daughter gathered her family in our bedroom yesterday and had everyone sit down. She then opened up a battered shoe box and reaching inside, handed us each a bundle, sometimes wrapped with notebook paper, or stuffed in an old reused gift bag, whatever she could find. She literally bounced with excitement and couldn't stop grinning. She had my husband and I open ours first and inside my notebook paper bundle was a gold colored locket and a letter saying how much she loved me and that she's sorry if the picture inside isn't perfect since it was hard to get it in there, but she hopes I'll wear this little picture of her so she knows she's always close to my heart.
My husband's gift was a tiny stuffed dog that lit up with rosy cheeks when you squeezed him and he barked "I Woof You!", plus a letter that began "Dear Dad…" Since my husband is her stepfather this meant more than anything. That little puppy will have a place of honor on his dresser for years I know.
For her siblings it was little toys she'd picked up for them, or as in her sisters case, a hat and purse of hers that her younger sister had always wanted. She had saved her allowance, and at some point that neither my husband nor I can figure out (and she's not telling), she bought these gifts without any of us knowing. She said "I hope you like it mom, I know its not fancy or anything, but yeah, well I hope you like it…." Oh my Kaia Marie, its worth to me than any fancy thing in this world.
To top things off she then called her three year old sister over, and knelt down and whispered "Bella, do you remember what we made for momma and daddy? Now its time to give it to them" And my toddler marched over all grins and handed us a valentine her big sister had helped her make for us, on which her scribbles could barely be made out to read "I love you mommy and daddy". Plus we found out she'd had Bella make a valentine for the daycare lady and her grandparents.
I looked at my daughter, on the verge of teenager-hood, and maybe soon to be at that age where she will pull away from me, and my heart just about burst with love and pride for this child, my child. I must have done something right to be lucky enough and strong enough to have raised a girl with such a huge heart. I grabbed her face and hugged her and told her "No one, no one in this world has a bigger heart that you do baby girl. You heart just shines" She got embarrassed as she always does when she does something like this, the praise is always brushed aside, since I really don't think that's why she does this. I wish I could somehow have her see herself through my eyes at a moment like that, because I really don't think she realizes what this means to me and what an example she is setting for her younger brother and sisters.
And so there it was, my Valentine's Day moment. Completely unexpected, unmanufactured, and perfect. Flowers, shiny gifts or cards – I don't need a thing today, cause I already feel that warm and fuzzy feeling all the way to my toes. And a shiny gold colored locket to remind me all day long how lucky I am.