Teachers Should Adopt THIS Kind of Valentine’s Day Celebration

I have never made it secret that I was a weird kid.

I spent a lot of after-school time in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades crying because I felt like I didn’t have any friends.  One of the friends I did have, used to punch me in the gut.  Looking back now, I understand that a lot of us just didn’t know how to express ourselves.  Dare I hang out with this person, or will someone make fun of me?  I KNOW!  Pretend I don’t like them, but hang out with them anyway! 

Others would pretend they liked me and then ridicule me amongst their real friends.  No, don’t make fun of Jessica, she’s one of us COOL KIDS. *snickering laughter*

Yeah.  Confusing much?

Valentine’s Day was always the worst.

My box decorations were never as good as the popular girls’.  My Valentine’s cards, while I thought they were cute, were generally the least trendy around.  And, even though the rule “Bring everyone in your class a Valentine card” was there, you knew people liked you if you got candy in your box, or even multiple Valentine cards from the same person.  Even better were the super-special Valentines from secret admirers.

Every year, I would get my hopes up.  Maybe this will be the year that someone secretly admires me.  Maybe I’ll get a piece of candy from someone.  Maybe my box will be the prettiest.

Off I would go, tummy fluttering, palms sweaty.  Hopeful that this year, THIS year would be it… yet, as the Valentine’s Day party wore on, the fluttering would turn sour, and I would go home with a bunch of meaningless, store-bought paper images with general “To: My Friend” sentiments.  Rarely did anyone take the time to write my name.

The past few years I have watched Cabin Girl blossom, making friendships with any and everyone.  It is, honestly, a relief to know that she will never want for friends to make her feel special.

Now though, I worry about the other kids in her class.  The ones who are like I was.  The ones who may look at my daughter and think, Why don’t people treat me the way they treat her?

In all the hype leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, I received a note from Cabin Girl’s teacher:

“Please send $2 to school for our Valentine’s Day celebration.  The 2nd grade classes will be decorating cookies in lieu of exchanging cards.”

I was overwhelmed by the sense of gratitude I feel for these teachers.

Part of it, yes, is because I was really not looking forward to spending money/time on cards that, really, kids will be disappointed in if there isn’t sugar attached.


But mostly, it gives me relief to know that one of biggest potentially disappointing situations a kid can face through the school year is being removed.

Today, I hope that everyone enjoys the camaraderie that is experienced when doing something new and special together.

I am eagerly awaiting Cabin Girl’s return home, so I can hear about her day made special, not from receiving, but from doing.

I hope she saves her cookie so I can see it.  And, for $2, it better be a big freaking cookie.


It was written for romance, but ‘A Thousand Years’ is far better as a lullaby

Christina Perri wrote A Thousand Years to capture the love story of Edward and Bella in the film Breaking Dawn Part 1.

Now, judge me if you must, but I’m a fan of the Twilight Saga.  It was an epic fantasy, and provided a wonderful escape from reality, which is why I read.  I love a few moments each day in a world with possibilities beyond humanity.

I also adore Christina’s song, but not because of Edward and Bella.

Time and again, no matter how often I hear this song, it brings me back to the first moments I had with each of my children:

“Heart beats fast,
Colors and promises”

My dreams of becoming a mother, mother of two, three, four…  In the urgent seconds just before their precious lives became forever part of mine.

“How to be brave
How can I love when I’m afraid
To fall”

Will I be able?  Will I be enough for this little person of mine?

“But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt
Suddenly goes away somehow

One more push, Jessica.

“One step closer”

It’s time…

“I have died every day waiting for you
Darlin’ don’t be afraid
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more”

And then the baby is here, being placed on my chest…

 “Time stands still beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything
Take away
What’s standing in front of me “

I reach for Captain’s hand, he smiles at both of us…

“Every breath,
Every hour has come to this
One step closer”

The nurse gives the baby to Captain, and I watch him run a finger along the baby’s frictionless cheeks…

“I have died every day
Waiting for you
Darlin’ don’t be afraid
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more”

My heart swells when his eyes return to mine…

“And all along I believed
I would find you
Time has brought
Your heart to me
I have loved you for a
Thousand years”

We make a silent pact…

“I’ll love you for a
Thousand more”

We watch our family grow…

“One step closer”

And grow…

“One step closer”

And then, it is complete.

“I have died every day
Waiting for you
Darlin’ don’t be afraid,
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I’ll love you for a
Thousand more”

And every day, they flourish…

“And all along I believed
I would find you”

These pieces of me that live outside of me…

“Time has brought
Your heart to me”

These testaments to the love Captain and I share…

“I have loved you for a
Thousand years”

These children who call me Mommy.

“I’ll love you for a
Thousand more”

Edward and Bella can keep their fantasy love.

I have all I need right here.

Watching Her Walk Away

We butt heads all. the. time.  Cabin Girl and I.  She is her mother’s daughter, with her Aunt’s Leo tenacity, and her daddy’s smarts and penchant for whining.  It is a struggle, daily, to get her to eat the breakfast she requested.  An hour to eat a piece of toast and a bowl of yogurt?  I just don’t understand.  Moving through her morning routine so slowly that I’ve had to start waking her up earlier and earlier just to get her out the door on time.

I help where I can… but between taking care of The Kraken and making sure the boys are fed and not destroying anything, I rarely have the chance.  This oldest girl of mine, who I had hoped wouldn’t be forced to grow up quicker than necessary.

I see her off to school, every morning.  Walk her to the end of the driveway and watch her trudge the 2 blocks to the corner where she’ll turn towards her school, crossing guards, school buses and friends.

Something about the past few days has me seeing with super clarity right now.  The importance of focusing on these children, these moments that seem too hectic, so chaotic, yet inherently mundane.

Maybe it’s because Captain, The Kraken and I are leaving this afternoon, for the weekend.  Maybe it’s because I know I haven’t been 100% present lately.  Maybe it’s because I’m finally past the uphill struggle of getting this PPD behind me.  But something inside told me to watch her.  Really watch her walk away this morning.  In her purple skull leggings, under her fuzzy boots and a striped kerchief skirt.  Her Mike Wazowski backpack fitting her just right, no longer over-sized, hitting the back of her knees as she half-heartedly bounced her way through the wind.  Leaves scattering everywhere, swirling around her feet before fluttering on their whirlwind course.

I’m glad I held her hand, hugged her tight, kissed her twice, and hugged her again before sending her on her way.  I’m glad I waited to see her turn around for one last wave before she rounded the corner.

I know I haven’t been the best, or the nicest, mom lately.  I have a lot to work on still.  Again.  It will be a war, kicking my frustrations and impatience to the curb.  There will be days when I lose battles, and have to retreat from skirmishes.  But it will be a war worth fighting for.

Because this girl, these children, deserve an intentional and consistent love, not a sporadic, implied one.

Birds and Bees… on the Playground?

I think for a majority of us who grew up with parents that didn’t explain sex early on, there is one person we remember as being the one who told us about sex.  Since most people are in school around the time puberty hits, that conversation usually happens as snippets told by an older, ‘wiser’ child on the playground or schoolbus.

birdsbeesThis morning, during a call from my bestie, I learned, to my chagrin and amusement, that my child is that child.

As the oldest of 4 children, she has had 3 opportunities to ask me about the babies that grow inside me.  Her specific concern each time: How did the baby get in there?!

And I was honest.  As honest as I felt I needed to be with her at each age.

2 years old: Daddy put it there.

Oh, okay.

4 years old: Daddy put it there.


You know how chickens lay eggs?  Women have eggs in their bodies, and, when they feel ready, the daddy helps turn that egg into a baby.

Oh.  I like eggs.  Can we have breakfast for dinner?

6 years old: How does daddy make your egg into a baby?

Well… that’s why men have a penis.  To make babies.


The penis goes in the vagina and a thing called sperm comes out.  Sperm is what turns an egg into a baby.

*Long pause…*

I just don’t understand HOW the penis gets into the vagina.

Let’s find you a book…

Yeah, I chickened out on the last one.  They say that you should only answer the questions that children ask, offering no extra information.  She still hasn’t asked for the book, but I’m okay with that for now.

I did stress that sex is for people who are ready to make, and take care of, a baby.  We’ll have to readdress that down the road, for sure, but, for now, she’s the kid on the playground with the honest mom that calls a penis a penis and just hopes that it saves her daughter from learning through inappropriate experience.  Now to teach her when it’s okay to talk about it…

You’re welcome, and I’m sorry.

When did you get/give the talk?

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