I Love You Because

If you Google “carried away”, more than 90% of the links included in the search results direct you to Valentine’s Day Pinterest pages. Use corrugated cardboard and a wine cork to craft abstract rose-print Valentine's Day cards! Create a Valentine's Day wreath from only bamboo shoots, imported Dutch tulips, and 100 yards of burlap! Prepare a week’s worth of heart-shaped foods for Valentine’s Day in just 27 steps and 72 hours!

Ok, not really. But I do think Valentine’s Day has spun a little out of control.

A few years back, around the time Pinterest took off and seemed to showcase only the most elaborate handmade crafts and projects, I seriously considered quitting Valentine’s Day altogether. Pin after pin suggested I transform the first half of February into a magical marathon of candy-filled countdown calendars, heart-shaped lunchbox treats, and personalized Valentines for preschoolers. Suddenly the store-bought Batman cards my son passed out to his classmates made me feel like a failure as a parent.

Over time I developed a healthier relationship with Pinterest. I learned to completely ignore – no matter how adorable – any and all pins that might take longer than two hours, cost more than $10, or leave me in tears should failure ensue and instead tackle only two simple and inexpensive crafts, projects, or recipes each holiday. The kids appreciate adding to our celebrations and I feel festively accomplished without also feeling overwhelmed. Moderation for the win.

This year, one of my additions was an easy but heartfelt Valentine’s Day tradition (at least I hope it becomes a tradition) that I named “I Love You Hearts”.

First, I cut two large hearts out of cardstock. I wrote “Will/Hallie, I love you because…” on each heart and colored the hearts with red, pink, and purple stripes and polka dots. Once the hearts were decorated, I hung them on the kids’ bedroom doors after they went to sleep on January 31st.

Second, I completed the sentence above – 14 times for Will and 14 times for Hallie – on miniature red and purple sticky notes.

…you made me a mom
…you completed our family
…you look for opportunities to be kind to others
…you always try your best
…you help me carry in the groceries
…you take good care of Tux (our cat)

Finally, every night I add one new sticky note to their hearts. They wake each morning to a new note, and by Valentine’s Day their hearts will be covered with messages of love.

My secret wish is that they – on their own, as I don’t plan to suggest it – decide to write message of love to each other…this hasn’t happened yet, but there’s still time.

This tradition has made our cold, dark February mornings warm and sweet and oh so worth waking up for. After all, what better way to greet the day than with a simple reminder of how much you are loved?

Want to bring this tradition into your home? You’ll need construction paper or cardstock out of which to cut your heart, markers or crayons to decorate your heart (you could certainly use any additional art supplies – stickers, glitter, etc. – you already have on hand as well), and sticky notes or index cards and tape on which to write your messages. Have fun!

About the Author...
Erin Ferris
My name is Erin, and I’m a wife, mother, and writer living in College Station, Texas.

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