what valentine’s day is about

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I love the opportunity to craft it up on Valentine’s Day and assemble sweet cards for the preschool masses. It’s fun to peruse Pinterest and work within the zillions of ideas to find just the right one for my kiddo. The one that she can help with. The one that she takes a personal interest in creating. And, one that is appealing to kiddos even though it is sugar-free.

With three years of Montessori school under our belts with Pepper, we moved into a new realm this year. Pepper is in her first year at an elementary Montessori school and V is in her first year of Montessori preschool.

I gave V a few different choices for cards and her choice was one with drinking straws. We found sweet heart shaped straws and the cubbies were filled with a Valentine’s wish of “Sip! Sip! Hooray! It’s Valentine’s Day!” As the greetings were snatched and met with squeals of delight, it became clear that the Valentine’s were spot-on. And, that my three year old’s affinity for shaped drinking straws is none too unique.

This is Pepper’s first year in elementary and it’s a school new to us. We went with the flow and awaited the directions of what we were doing. Pepper’s choice were handmade bird seed patties in the shape of a heart addressed with the note “You are a TWEET heart!” She decorated each card and birdie with customized colors that she picked out for each child in her class. The older kids in class* were given the directive to write a compliment for each child. We were out of town for the class celebration, but made arrangements with her teacher.

When we got back, the bestest of the best gifts awaited her.

A bag for her cards had been lovingly decorated for her. Inside were 30 Valentine’s for her. More than half of them were handmade from bits of construction paper, hardy cardstock and a variety of different adornments. Messages scrawled in children’s handwriting had been written in everything from fat felt-tip marker to blunt crayon. They were for her. Each message was for her.

You are awesome, Pepper.

You are a kind friend.

You make me laugh.

Your smile is bright.

You have cute clothes and good artwork.

You are fun to play game with.

You are a good person.

These messages are heartfelt. These children put time into making the cards. Writing the words and thinking up the message for each child.

These cards have been her constant companion for the last two weeks. Every where she goes, the bag goes. They have been read and reread. The have been shared with her adoring younger sister countless times. The edges are starting to curl and some of the paper is already beginning to tear. She’s read them enough that she knows their words by memory and the giver by glance.

Yesterday she asked me if we could create a special board in her room to hang them all on so she can have them forever.

This is how lasting friendship starts. This is how self-esteem is built. This is when children begin to learn the power of the written word and the truth these statements offer. This is how children gain an appreciation of each person’s uniqueness. This is how love is shown. This is one of the many reasons why we love Pepper’s school.

This is what Valentine’s Day is about.

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