Including Kiddos in Holiday Traditions

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The  Monday before Valentine’s Day, I laid out Cooper’s Valentine’s Day outfit for her special V-Day date with daddy. Growing up, my sisters and I always received little valentine gifts from our dad, so I was excited for my husband to start a new tradition with his daughter. All day, I asked, “Are you excited about your date with daddy?” and her quick response, “Yes, ice-cream!” (I had casually mentioned they might stop for this rare treat, but it was now written in stone in her little mind.) The date was a success! Cooper came back glowing with happiness, reporting how she watched “snow” on TV, (aka the Olympics) and loved her ice-cream sundae. It has been fun including our kiddos in a holiday which previously only felt appropriate for romantic love.

On actual Valentine’s Day, I woke up extra early to meet new Be Better interns, Brielle and Sophie, down at the Starbucks at the Old Towne Orange Circle. We sat and  constructed the love notes and hearts we planned to scatter all around the circle. We couldn’t wait to see the reactions of complete strangers as they picked them up. Our task completed, we headed over to the circle and thoughtfully placed love notes on benches and red hearts on trees. When our work was done, we headed back to Starbucks to continue our meeting. The whole time, however, I was distracted, looking outside at random strangers picking up our letters and actually taking photos with the hearts. I felt giddy that somehow we were making people feel loved, maybe even a few who had grown to despise the holiday because of romantic relationships gone awry. Later that day, I was notified through the hashtag that people had found the Valentines. My hope is that in the future, I can include my kiddos in this holiday tradition to decorate old town with hearts and letters of love.

By focusing on giving love this Valentine's Day, I was amazed how much I didn’t care what my husband bought or did for me today. I feel incredibly blessed to be happily married. Probably because we just started a weekly tradition of going out on a date each week, staying home and cooking dinner in my pj’s felt like a perfect way to spend the night.

Today is the day after Valentine’s Day, and I feel motivated to not let this feeling of wanting to give love to others dwindle. So here I am, pulling out a pen and paper to write Anne from More Love Letters a handwritten letter. Tragically, she lost her husband, the love of her life, and she now struggles with loneliness. This whole experience has made me think beyond myself and connect with a stranger in need of love. I hope my letter gives even an ounce of comfort during this difficult time in her life.

Watch this inspiring TED TALK by founder of More Love Letters, Hannah Brencher