It’s funny how the holidays have changed over time. While I used to spend a lot of time obsessing over which card to give to Papa Gaga and what sort of dinner we should cook for one another, this year Valentine’s Day was pretty much all about the kids. We had a couple activities with friends planned throughout the day, so I found myself scouring Pinterest this week, preoccupied with what we would do to show our friends how much they mean to us.
When the kids woke up they were greeted by a few small treats in the kitchen, as well we some cards and care packages from our sweet relatives.
After a quick breakfast, we threw on all the red and pink we could find in our wardrobes and headed to our first stop: the local retirement home where we were meeting up with a moms club to hand out Valentines to the residents.
This is what kept me up until 3am. I didn’t get the details until the evening prior (“please bring forty Valentines to share”) and I really wanted to bake some homemade treats for these folks. Hopefully there weren’t any diabetics!
What I lost in sleep was made up for in smiles and thanks from our new friends. All three of us really enjoyed getting to know the residents here and they seemed to really enjoy showering the kiddos in Valentine’s Day stickers and hugs.
I’ve got to be honest, most of the moms group folks were gone after 20-30 minutes. But two hours later, we were STILL there. Toddler Gaga pretty much wanted to move in. He loved the craft table they set up for us, complete with googly eyes and lollipops.
As well as the “movie theater room,” where he performed several times on stage.
And the opulent dining room where we handed out homemade cookies and brownies to those sitting down to eat. Several invited us to stay for lunch, and I’m sure both kids would have loved to if we hadn’t had another place to be.
But by far, our favorite part of the morning was meeting Ms. Lena. She had just moved in one week prior and I could tell she was having some difficulty adjusting. She wanted to show us exactly where her apartment was, so we agreed to go see it. And that’s when I noticed this beautiful picture.
As I looked at it, my eyes instantly started to well up. I knew this was the love of her life and she was living in this retirement home because he was no longer here. I asked her when the picture was taken and she started to get choked up herself. She shared that her husband had passed away in June and that’s she’s missed him every day since. That’s when we both just stood in the hallway with the children at our feet — two strangers, crying and hugging one another. Eventually she pulled herself together long before I did, muttering something about having to finish up some paperwork and I said I should probably get the kids home for a nap. But I promised her we would come back to visit soon. And we will.
After a quick recharge back at the homestead, we headed back out again into the gorgeous sunshine for a Valentine’s picnic play date with our dear mama friends and their babes at the park.
The weather was absolutely perfect. What a change from Massachusetts to be outside enjoying a picnic in short sleeves on February 14th!
The children were extra sweet and it was so cute watching them swap treats with their little friends.
The last stop of our day was to the airport to retrieve Daddy after he had been away for work — best Valentine’s gift ever! Rather than a fancy dinner out just the two of us, we decided to stop at one of our favorite hamburger joints for dinner and some milkshakes with the kids. I assumed every other family would’ve hired a babysitter and this family-friendly place would be empty.
WRONG! It was probably the busiest I had ever seen it on a Friday night. Ah well. It was a great way to end a perfect Valentine’s Day that was chock-a-block full of love.