My lovelies, you are young now and as I dream about what you will experience in the future, I think about what Valentine’s Day might be like for you. The parties you will have in elementary school with decorative boxes full of colorful cards and candy. Sugar cookies decorated with hearts and pink frosting. Flowers and a card from daddy and mommy each year. I want and hope you have fun memories as I did as a kid.
Things change as you get older and it can get awkward and painful. I wish I could take this away and prevent what’s to come as you enter middle school and high school, but it’s part of growing up. I often wished moments away during these years because the in between of being a kid and not being an adult are full of awkward moments and not feeling like you are doing life right. The thing is, lovelies, no one feels like they are doing life right during those years.
Many of your friends who you play with on play dates right now may become unfriendly and distant with you as you get older. That’s okay – they are trying to figure out life and who they are too and you may become distant with them. They may be hurting, so be kind to them. Right now you laugh and run and beg to stay longer as you wrestle around, play dress up and run barefoot around the yard. Think of these sweet moments as Valentine’s Day approaches while you sit through the awkward moments of seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades. Yes, that is more years than you are old right now.
I remember how the Student Council used to sell suckers and flowers that you could send to your Valentine. I think a friend sent one once, but I was always embarrassed if I received one AND if I didn’t receive one. It turned into a popularity contest in my mind and I longed to receive many, but I hated the attention. Things get awkward and weird as you grow up – this is normal and okay. Be kind anyways and be kind to yourself. Your head chatter may lie to you saying you are only as valuable and loved as the number of Valentine’s you receive. You are more than what you do and others do for you.
You know what’s not okay? It’s not okay for someone to send you a Valentine as a cruel joke. This is the pain I’m talking about. It’s more than just stealing your milk at lunch time. It’s not okay for someone to be rude and mean to you everyday and do one big kind gesture once a year or only on holidays. You deserve to be treated with kindness and love. Love doesn’t choose one day to “spoil” you as the movies show. Real love is thoughtful and kind and may not be able to afford the “big” and expensive gestures. Real love looks like your boyfriend or friends running to the store because you are sick, dropping off your homework because you missed a day, and sharing their lunch because you forgot your’s. They are excited to see you everyday at school and may even send you a Valentine, but this one act of kindness does not define how they feel about you. You know your boyfriend loves you because he is thoughtful, kind and loving each day. This does not mean he or your friends are perfect – no one is.
What does thoughtfulness and kindness look like? It looks like the guy named Steve who spent weeks making a Valentine’s Day card to stick to the locker of every single girl in high school. He didn’t have to do this, but he wanted every girl he went to school with to feel special, regardless of whether they thought what he was doing was awkward or weird. He cut hearts out of construction paper that said “Be Mine”. Be my friend. Be someone who is kind. Be with others. Be confident in who you are because you are special. The time he spent was priceless and the message he sent was invaluable. I still remember this 13 years later.
Be the kindness that you want to see in others and spread this on Valentine’s Day. Maybe you will have a boyfriend and then a husband every Valentine’s Day as you get older, but it’s okay to be single. It’s okay to only get flowers and a card from your parents. Our gesture is motivated by love and thoughtfulness and can be hard to find as you get older. Focus on what you do have and don’t wish the moments away until you have the relationship status that other girls have. You don’t need someone to do something nice to know how valuable and loved you are.
So today, let’s enjoy the flowers, cards and candy and tell others how we feel about them. This is a much bigger and more important gift than that one “big” gesture. Remember that we love you everyday and pray you have friends and future boyfriends that do too. Be mind. Be kind. Be love.