"I forgot to get the girls' a Valentine's Day present."
Jack had one leg under the covers and took a deep breath. "Where should I go?" It was nearly midnight. "Walgreens...," I answered quietly. He sighed again and got dressed and headed out into the night. I fell asleep.
In the morning, just as I was waking up, three warm bodies appeared in our bed. "Happy Valentine's Day, Mama." I kissed their foreheads and we cuddled in bed, our normal Sunday morning routine. I kissed them again and rolled out from under the covers to have my coffee and as I came into the kitchen, I saw three heart decorated cups on the kitchen table. Inside each were small books of Valentine's temporary tattoos and chocolate cover, heart-shaped marshmallows. Tucked in there as well were small pieces of yellow legal paper with these words:
"Will you be my Valentine? You're ours forever. Love, Papa and Mama."
I sipped my coffee and smiled at this wonderful man I'm lucky to share this life with. Not only did he go out just minutes before collapsing from another ordinary exhausting day, but he managed to pick the perfect (and highly affordable) gifts, AND shared the giving of the gifts with me. Not to mention let me take the first, and strongest, cup of coffee.
The girls tumbled into the kitchen and they saw the cups on the table. Their eyes widened and their faces lit up with smiles. They each took out their yellow slips of paper and one by one, read the loving words, written in their father's unique handwriting, a script I've loved seeing on paper for 25 years. Then they took turns reading them out loud and flipping through their tattoo books. They all hugged their papa and within five minutes at least three different tattoos were on their cheeks, hands and arms. They clutched their gifts, hugged Jack again and then Julea said, "I'm keeping this piece of paper forever."
As parents, we often wonder what our children will remember, fearing that the not so good, times like we've had for the last few weeks, will overtake the good. But this morning, waking up to three toasty and delicious Valentines, and witnessing their deep love for their father, put that fear to rest. This morning also helped me remember that small gestures bring forth so much - a chocolate heart, stickers and a small piece of yellow paper and a Valentine's Day that will be remembered forever.
Happy Valentine's Day