Happy Valentine’s Day Moms! Did you get a heart-shaped valentine from your child this morning? A sweet treat or flowers from your dear husband or significant other? Any special plans for today?

My husband has never been one for “Hallmark Holidays.” Long-time listeners will recall he used to buy flowers for me out of white paint buckets in the parking lot of the Dairy Queen down the street from my old neighborhood. Over the years I told him I’d rather no flowers than a fistful of dyed carnations wrapped in krinkly cellophane or a ProFlowers box of half-dead roses for which he paid too much money on Valentine’s Day.

“Just get me a nice card!” I said.

He’s finally complied. This morning he had a lovely card waiting for me. And I had one for him.

There were no handmade Valentines from the kids, however. The boys are now almost 9 and 11 and well, Valentines for Mom? Not so much. I gave them Valentines, candy and an iTunes card each. But I was quickly reminded of how fast they are growing up when I realized there was no heart-shaped red paper with the words “Love” or “Mom” scribbled on it. No trinket box painted at school. No red doily with glitter.

I’ll admit, it made me a little sad. Not because I felt forgotten or ignored (heck, that happens every day of the week around here) but because it was another moment when I felt the years slipping away. On the one hand, family life is easier at this age. The kids are more independent, they have their own interests and friends, they are becoming big boys. One might even be described as a tween.

And yet I find myself thinking wistfully about years’ past when I made all the decisions for them: what they wore, who they played with, how their time was spent. When nighttime rituals involved baths, snuggles and stories instead of pleas to stay up late  to catch the end of the SU game or struggles over sloppy homework.

The other day I was looking at old photos when I saw one of my famous “daily schedules” from when they were toddlers. I used to call them “Fun, Fabulous Fridays!” and I loved our Fridays together. It was just the boys and me and we’d go on field trips, to Friendly’s for lunch, bake cookies, watch movies, visit neighborhood playgrounds, blow bubbles outside and play with sidewalk chalk. Sometimes, when things were not going so great, the Fridays felt like they went on FOREVER. Experienced moms would remind me, “The days are long, but the years are short.”

Now our time together is filled with too much technology, homework battles, shuttling to sports practices, and rushed dinners punctuated by complaints about the food (some things never change). Weekends go by in a flash. I can’t believe I’m already filling out paperwork for middle school.

And although I know I wished a lot of time away, in the moment, my heart is a little crushed today thinking the days of homemade Valentines for mom might be gone for good.


9 Responses to Valentines for Mom?

  1. Dana says:

    Tears…..thanks for sharing!

  2. Ctmommy says:

    This is why I started listening to your podcast and reading your blog in 2008 and haven’t stopped since. You are so elequent at putting into words what we moms are feeling–happy or sad–so we don’t feel alone. And this mom is so grateful for it. Thank you.

  3. Bridget says:

    Erin – you captured it perfectly! So true!!

  4. Mary Ann says:

    Erin you have such a gift of saying it just right…..Reading you makes my day


  5. Patty says:

    :((. I so feel the same way. Wish we could slow it all down some.

  6. Shawn says:

    Great post, Erin! I feel my son approaching that stage…..

  7. Meg says:

    Ugh. Our boys are 5 years behind yours. I can see it coming!
    Have you read “The Gift of Ordinary Days”
    And this of course;

  8. Tami says:

    I can relate … Only gets worse as you go with them to pick out a valentine for their first girlfriend. Ugh!

  9. Holly says:

    Great reminder for those of us in the middle of the younger years!