Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Special

I rarely do anything special for my family anymore.  It seems the arrival of our third child nudged me over the edge into survival mode, and I've been there ever since.  I suppose you could say that, because I make supper for my children and eat it with them every day, or because I'm home when they get home, I'm doing something special.  And I suppose it's true--there are many children (far too many) who don't have that.  But to me, that's nothing special--that's just my responsibility.

It's just too much work to do anything out of the ordinary for my family.  It's not so much the implementation that I don't have the time or energy for, but the planning--the thinking it up in the first place.  Some days I barely have time to breathe, much less figure out a novel way to show my family I love them.

You may have noticed that yesterday was Valentine's Day.  I know, it's a Hallmark holiday, conceived by businesses to guilt us into parting with more of our money, but if ever there was a day to do something special to show my love for my family, that was the day.  And there I was, at 2:53 p.m., standing in my kitchen feeling guilty that I hadn't done a single special thing.  No special meal.  No decorations.  No small gifts for my boys.  No curtain of paper streamers with hearts on the end hanging in their doorways.  No trail of Hershey kisses leading from their bedrooms to the kitchen.  And certainly no treasure hunt.  Nothing.  The baby was finally "resting", the oldest baby was due home in 12 minutes, and I had nothing.

Drawing inspiration from a book I've been reading, I decided I could at least make a simple heart-shaped dessert.

I mixed 1/2 c. sugar and 1/2c. light corn syrup and microwaved until it was boiling.  Next I added 1 c. creamy peanut butter and stirred until melted, then stirred in ~3 cups of rice krispies.  I took baseball-sized portions and shaped them into hearts on waxed paper, then placed one on each plate.
 There.

But was that special enough?  Oh no! I'm not sure me giving them heart-shaped treats quite conveys the depth of my feeling, so next I had to tell my family how I feel about them. 

So, I cut some hearts out of construction paper, wrote each person's name in the center of a heart, and wrote some affirming describing words on the heart.  Like this:
 But mine was empty, of course, because 1. I have a hard time thinking of anything nice to say about myself and 2. even if I could think of something, it seemed a bit vain to actually write it down.  As we sat down to dinner, we passed the hearts and each person wrote something nice about each family member.  It was a sweet way to remind everyone that we do, indeed love each other, that each of us is unique and is worthy of admiration. I saved our hearts and put them up in our dining area to serve as a visual cue to appreciate one another. Our meal seemed to be a tad less hectic than usual, too, but that could just be me looking backward with a rosy viewpoint. 

How's that for special?  And put together in 12 minutes or less?  I guess my point is, it's always a good time to put a little extra effort into loving your family.  And a little effort goes a long way toward creating positive family bonds, lasting memories, and a feeling of warmth in your home.

I even had time to put together these valentiney straws :)

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