Valentine’s Day 2024. The first in 8 years that I haven’t been preparing for a class party as a teacher. Those years were fun, and I always enjoyed making cards for each of my students. I’m a writer, a words of affirmation person, and anytime there’s a chance to communicate care or appreciation through a card, I try to. So while it’s strange not writing cards for each kid in a class this year (but nice to not be bringing home the mass amounts of chocolate and sweets), it’s a bit more special helping my little boy prepare for his final preschool party. I saw his face light up as he signed his name on his teachers’ cards. He absolutely adores his teachers, and I love seeing how much he cares for his preschool friends. My little boys get in the habit of making cards (thank you, birthday, etc) by the time they are 3 and can hold a pencil or crayon. We all know we could save time by just buying some (I know I’m lame and have never bought boxed Valentines before), but the time to cut something out, decide what to write, etc really helps us all truly appreciate and thank that person. I loved doing this with my mom and dad when I was a child, and I love doing this with my own little boys. Both of my grandmothers and my great-aunt (who has been a third grandmother to me my whole life) did this as well. My great-aunt still hand-writes thank you cards, makes calls just to tell you she loves you, and that is inspiring to not just me, but to my children. You know why? It’s so rare anymore. Kids can pick up on genuine, unconditional love when they see it. They also remember it.

While our culture has a pretty warped view of love, this day is my reminder of God’s love for all of us. True love isn’t what society tells us it is. It’s not some feeling, but is something incredible displayed by people who have first experienced the true love of Jesus. I’m thankful for people in my life who humbly, quietly show me this each and every day. I’m thankful for the children, friends and family young and old, that God has given me to love as well.

So, whatever your thoughts are on this very commercialized “holiday”, happy Valentine’s Day. Try not to overdo it on the sugar-high, but go tell someone you are thankful for them!