If you have read my last few posts you know that I love Valentine’s Day with kids. It is such a great time to celebrate love in all of its forms, but most especially family love. I mean, my hubby and I love each other to death, but I think we are both in complete agreement that our kids are the most remarkable walking Valentines that ever existed! (Not that we are biased or anything.)
Thanks to my creative mama, we have some family traditions surrounding Valentines Day that make things extra special and fun. I am saving my favorite Sally-Westover-created tradition to share with you next year, because at this point it is too late for you to do it. (UPDATE: See the post for this tradition, SECRET CUPIDS here!!) But today I am sharing one of the fun things she did with us because it can be done in a hurry, and it is sure to elicit a smile from a little Valentine or a big one!
Today we are going to be talking about giving someone a heart attack! Well, not in the medical sense of the word. Just in the silly, paper heart sense of the word. This isn’t an entirely original idea from my mom, as I have seen many things like it over the years, but it’s something she did for us that is fun, cheap, and easy. So I love it!
What IS a heart attack, you ask? It is when you cut out zillions (ok, fine…..dozens) of hearts and then tape them all over. It could be all over someone’s door, room, desk, bathroom mirror, inside or outside of the car (inside will last longer), or anywhere else that you can dream up! Remember how you used to decorate your friends’ locker doors in middle school on their birthdays? No? Just me? Well, it’s like that.
Last year it was the night before Valentine’s Day when I realized that I am lame. For real. I was sitting there thinking to myself, “Sarah Westover McKenna, you haven’t put up a SINGLE decoration for Valentine’s Day. You have nothing planned for your kid or your husband. You are sitting here in your mother’s house wishing you were a fun mom like her and doing nothing about it.” So I kicked myself in the butt and got busy.
Guess what I discovered? It’s really not that hard to make holidays special for little kids. I ran to Walmart and bought a cheap tablecloth and a couple of new matchbox cars for him that he found by his breakfast table setting. He was thrilled. Like, clutched those cars in his hands while he slept that night thrilled. Oh, and I got out Bisquick and red food coloring and made him pink heart shaped pancakes using greased heart cookie cutters that we already owned. He thought that I was the mom of the year!
Most importantly (to this post at least), I “heart attacked” his room, as well as my husband’s car. I sat down in front of the tv with a pair of scissors and a pile of construction paper and cut hearts. I did not bust out my Cricut. I did not print out gorgeous printables. I just cut while I watched tv. My hearts were crooked. Some of them were jagged. And the boys couldn’t have cared any less!
(Look at his face . . . . pure JOY! That is excitement right there!)
Since my son was two and obviously couldn’t read yet, I just left his hearts blank. I wrote things that I loved about my husband on some of the hearts for his car. My handwriting was hurried and sloppy, and some of the things I wrote were downright silly. But he didn’t care. In fact, my husband told me that when he got up at 4 am (poor guy—–being a surgical resident sucks) to drive to the hospital in the dark he was so surprised and touched that he wept. Not that I’m surprised by that admission. He’s the sentimental sap in this family, that’s for sure! Love that tender-hearted man.
My son loved his hearts so much that we left them up in his room for months, and I recently found the hearts I had put in my husband’s car tucked away in a neat pile in his trunk. He had taken them down and stored them safely away. So sweet. That almost made me weep a bit. Almost, but not quite. I’m not nearly as soft-hearted as he is.
Here is the lesson that I learned: A little effort goes a long way with the people that you love, especially children. It didn’t matter that my house wasn’t perfectly decorated like a room on Pinterest or that I hadn’t printed out a bunch of cutesy printables and Subway art. Construction paper hearts sloppily cut by hand brought big smiles to the faces of both of my men and they felt loved.
Some people poo-poo Valentine’s Day as a commercial holiday and a day of forced romance. Well, I think they are wrong. I hardly spent any money, put in minimal effort, and it went from being just another dull Tuesday cooped up in the house with my toddler to a day full of fun and excitement. Forget the sappy romantic aspect of the holiday and just check out the grin on my little boy’s face! Any day that I can make more magical for him and make him feel more loved is a pretty great day in my book! Thanks for the inspiration, Mom.
I challenge you to heart attack someone that you love this Valentine’s Day. You hearts do NOT have to be perfect. You do NOT have to write in perfect prose on each heart. In fact, you don’t even have to write on them at all! It is the thought that counts, and the love that you put into those hearts.