Why Not Write Your Parent a (Grown-Up) Valentine?
In this Primerrily Treehouse piece, we invite you to join your kids, elbow-to-elbow, with markers, craft paper, scissors, and glue for a Valentine craft of the hand and the heart. Simple pen and paper will work just fine too. We can almost guarantee you've never read an article like this one, especially as school requests this time of year are focused on providing materials for kid-to-kid Valentines. While of course we help our kids express care and appreciation for their teachers and classmates this Valentine’s Day, we all hope that somewhere between the red doilies and pink heart stickers there’s a little message from them to us (or maybe that’s just me?).
Is this wishful thinking? Sometimes kids forget to express their love for the very people who love them precisely because they know they don’t need to earn our love; we are there for them all the time, no matter what they do (or don’t do). Being able to forget to thank a parent for their love is actually a luxury. That’s why true gratitude is an intentional commitment that takes practice -- one that we have to teach and model to our kids. The reality is, our little ones most likely won’t be sending us Valentine’s this year; it likely won’t even cross their sweet little minds. Might this be the case for ourselves and our own parents?
Sometimes kids forget to express their love for the very people who love them precisely because they know they don’t need to earn our love; we are there for them all the time, no matter what they do (or don’t do).
That mirror can be a tough one to hold up, especially as life circumstances can make relationships even more complicated over the years, providing opportunities for misunderstandings and hurts to creep in -- on both sides. It can be hard to find the right moment to (re)build a broken bridge or express forgiveness. We make these important caveats because parents -- and their (grown) kids -- at times let each other down. They are human, and so are we. The hard truth is, try as I may to be the perfect parent, I know she doesn't exist. I will let my kids down someday, too (and likely have already). When I do, I really hope they choose to still love me anyway.
The hard truth is, try as I may to be the perfect parent, I know she doesn't exist.
Our intention is not to push you in a direction that doesn’t suit. You know your situation best. We are only offering that on this national day of expressing love, the day on which there is a perfect excuse to be a bit more vulnerable, you could have the opportunity to model for your kids exactly what you’d hope they’d do for you. So when you mail a Valentine letter to grandma and grandpa from your kids, you might consider sliding one in from you, too?
We recently shared a beautiful tribute of love written by a world champion to his mother, posthumously. He lost his mom on Christmas Day, and he wasn’t able to be with her to say goodbye. It may have inspired you to send your parent a love note of sorts. If you’re inspired like us, but not sure how to begin, you’re in good company. Primerrily is here to help. Below are some prompts that might help you get started -- and even find another way of expressing “I love you” or “I forgive you” if those words still are a little hard to roll off the tongue. Remember: you don’t care if the card your kids give you is objectively pretty or perfectly worded because all you care about is that it comes from them. We’re sure your mom and dad feel the same way about cards from their (grown-up) baby.
Remember: you don’t care if the card your kids give you is objectively pretty or perfectly worded because all you care about is that it comes from them. We’re sure your mom and dad feel the same way about cards from their (grown-up) baby.
Mom / Dad, the words I remember you saying most when I was a kid are ______. Thanks for saying them. I’m so glad you did. Because you said them, I ______.
Mom/ Dad, if I could only use three words to describe you, I’d say you are ______. [For each word, consider sharing a quick story explaining why.]
Mom / Dad, my favorite memory of us is when ______.
Mom / Dad, I remember I was going through a really hard time when ______. Thanks for loving me through that period of my life. Because you did, I ______.
Mom / Dad, now that I’m a parent, I know more than ever how hard it is. A sacrifice I remember you making for me was when you ______. I may not have seen it or said something then, but I want to say something now -- thank you.
Mom / Dad, one of the ways I see your parenting coming out in my parenting is when I ______. When I do that / say that, I think of you and smile.
Mom / Dad, one of the things that made you such a great parent was that you always / never ______.
Mom / Dad, one of the ways I wish I could be more like you is ______.