Parenting on Valentine’s Day

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There has been one consistent theme on Valentine’s Day, as long as I can remember, my parents loving me. Growing up, my mom was a Pinterest mom, and Pinterest wasn’t even close to being invented. She always went above and beyond, and still does. Every year, my dad asks my sisters and I to be his Valentine. Every morning on V-Day, my dad is usually the first person I talk to; He calls to ask about being his Valentine, even though my sisters and I are all in our thirties and married. Throughout our teenage years, we would roll our eyes at how silly and lame this was, but looking back it is something really special.

When I was a freshman in college, I waited for my dad to call and the phone never rang. No text, no call. I called my older sister, same. I then called my mom and demanded to know why dad hadn’t called us to ask us to be his Valentine. I’m not exactly sure how that conversation went, but shortly after my dad called my sisters and I. Dad explained ‘Of course he wanted each of us to be his Valentine, but we always made fun of him, and he thought we outgrew this.’ We all also received beautiful flowers very shortly after the phone call; and since that LATE phone call, my dad has continued being the first person I hear from every Valentine’s Day.

From an early age our parents teach us about love, and model either healthy or unhealthy relationships. Parents set the standards and expectations of how we model our future relationships and interactions. In this example, our dad taught us, no matter what and no matter how old we are, we are still his girls. He just loves each of us for who we are, and also how important this love is to each of us.

As parent’s I think we ultimately have two jobs; to protect our children and to just radically love them. And by radically love them, and I mean radically love and accept them; love them with no conditions. When we can provide them with unconditional love, this teaches them from an early age, that love shouldn’t have to be earned; love should be given freely by those closest to us. As parents it’s our job to teach our children that they are lovable and deserving of love; And what a great opportunity to do this, on a day like Valentine’s Day.

I realize as I write this, I am really lucky. I am lucky that both my dad and my mom provided this type of loving environment. Not everyone is that fortunate, of this I am completely, very well aware. However, if this isn’t the environment you grew up in, that doesn’t mean it isn’t the environment you can’t create. We get the chance to create the life we want for our children; to create an environment like the one you had, or the complete opposite. As parents, we have the opportunity to show our children how fiercely they are loved, today and every day.

I asked a friend yesterday what she and her husband had planned for Valentine’s Day; Both of us knowing that there was no “date night” in sight for the either of us. After you have kids, date-nights can become harder and harder to come by, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. However, instead of being disappointed there is no dinner at a fancy restaurant with wine and candle light, what if parents changed our mindset. What if we just embraced this day, as a day to just really love those around us.

Today, we ate heart shaped cinnamon rolls and heart shaped bacon for breakfast. My husband, carrying on the tradition of my dad, bought our girls special Valentine’s, and as they get older he will make sure they know the same kind of love that I was shown growing up. Tonight, we will spend the evening making pizzas, and let’s be honest, drinking wine. It won’t be a date night, but it will be a great night. Today we are loving our girls, and using today as an another excuse to just make them feel special. And that’s really what this is all about, that’s what Valentine’s Day is for, love.

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