I've been married for almost 15 years and though my hubby-man is my sun, moon, stars, and favorite hot cocoa, we've never made that big a deal about Valentine's Day. We have our anniversary in April, and come February we've just survived Christmas gift giving, so other than a funny-sexy card and an excuse to go out to dinner sometime that week, Valentines Day isn't a big deal for the two of us.
A few years ago, however, I started giving valentines to my kids. One year I made little heart pouch things and hung them on their doorknobs full of M&M's--big hit. Another year I wrote down 50 things I loved about them and put them in a jar titled "What I love about you" there was no candy involved so it wasn't quite as fun, but the kids still have them . . . somewhere. And for the last two years I've put little hearts all over their bedroom doors the night before, giving them a heart attack. I then used the letters of their names to come up with some of my favorite things about them.
Two years ago, in May, I had to drop something off to a friend of mine. She worked night shift and had asked that I quietly put it inside her door rather than ring the bell or risk leaving it on the porch. My four year old came with me and when we got back the car she asked me why I went in that ladie's house without knocking.
"Well, she works at night so she's sleeping right now and I don't want to wake her up."
"She works at night?" my daughter repeated, still rather confused.
"Yes, she has a job, like Daddy does, only it's at night time."
"But she's a mom," my daughter said.
I've worked off and on throughout my marriage, but both my husband and I have tried very hard to keep me at home--which is my favorite place to be. I realized that this child had never known a time when I wasn't home so I explained a bit more. "She is a mom," I said. "A very good mom, that's why she's sleeping now while her kids are at school, so she can wake up when they get home. But she works another job to earn money."
"And she works her job at night?"
"Yep," I said. "At night."
"Sometimes you go to work at night."
I figured she was talking about a writing conference I'd been to a few weeks earlier when I'd been gone for a few days. "No, I don't work at night. Sometimes I go away for a few days to, uh, school, but I don't work."
"Yes you do, like that time you put hearts on our door when we were sleeping. That was work."
For me this was ultimate validation. That is my work, my main work, and the fact that I spend hours a day pursuing my career hasn't taken away the fact that my daughter sees my 'work' as her and our family. It was one of those moments that drove me to my knees and helped me thank my Father in Heaven for the bounty he has given me in the role of mother to these amazing spirits.