Thursday, February 13, 2014

Life Lessons Month of February: Blog 2- Letters from Mommy & Mimi

Happy Valentine’s Day Ellie-bean!

I think the best way to start this blog is to give you a little bit of information as to how Valentine’s Day came to be.  There are a few different legends Ellie, pretty much all having the same outcome. One story states that in the 3rd century Emperor Claudius II banned marriage completely as he thought young men would become better soldiers if they did not have a wife and children.  Valentine, a priest who served in Rome at the time did not agree with Claudius II, so he continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.  It did not take long for such news to spread, and when Claudius II found out he ordered that Valentine be put to death.  Another story is that Valentine and Claudius II were friends, but when Valentine tried to convert him to Christianity, Claudius II had him beheaded.  And a 3rd story has it that Valentine helped Christians escape from prisons and the harsh beatings they had to endure.  Valentine, a prisoner himself, supposedly fell in love with the jailer’s daughter who visited him daily and prayed with him during his confinement.  It is said that when he sent her a greeting, he signed it “From your Valentine” which is a term we still use today.  In the year 496 Pope Gelasius canonized Valentine as a saint and declared February 14th as the day to celebrate his martyrdom.  Today St. Valentine is recognized as the patron saint of engaged couples, lovers, beekeepers (not sure why for this one), and epilepsy (possibly because he too suffered with this illness.)  Whether the legends are true or not, Valentine has been sensationalized over the years and has become one of our greatest heroes as well as romantic figures.  So Ellie, for me….

Life Lesson Learned #51:  Valentine’s Day should not be the only day that we send and receive notes of affection and gifts.  Any day or everyday would be the perfect day to perform random acts of kindness to those we know well and even those we don’t!  

Ellie, this week is Valentine’s Day and as much as it is celebrated as a romantic holiday, the reason I like it is because you will see many individuals (young and old) smiling with excitement and maybe even a tinge of secrecy!  Here is an example: in the school I work for, each of the staff has been given a ‘secret valentine buddy’ (another staff member) and each day leading up to Valentine’s Day we are to put little surprises in their mailbox.  It can be a favorite candy or snack of theirs; a note, a poem or an inspirational message; or even a promise that entails an act of kindness!  No matter what the gesture, as long as it is a positive one, it is sure to bring many a smile!  Here is another example:  Poppy knows the way to capturing my heart just as I do his.  On Valentine’s Day we will be viewing one of the greatest classic/romance movies of all time, Casablanca, at the old State Theatre.  And yes Ellie, popcorn comes with it!  Valentine’s Day for me can’t get any better than that!

Now I look forward to hearing about your Valentine’s Day Celebration at preschool!  I know you will have lots of fun, especially since I don’t think you know quite what to expect from it!  A planned party, lots of treats and a Valentine’s bag filled with sweet cards from your friends and teachers will make the festivities of the day very memorable for you!  And hopefully my dear little one, all the work that it took to get you to write your name on the Valentine cards that you planned to share at school will make you want to do it again next year!

Oh El-bean, if you only knew how much ingenuity it took this year in securing 15 signatures from you.  After three cards you stated, “Mimi this is boring.  I don’t like writing my name.  How about you do it?   This is too much work for me!”  (Looks like you are already a pro at excuses Ellie-bean!)  Sooooooo, with that being said, I conned you into sitting in Will’s highchair (which was formally yours) and yes you still fit in it.  We pretended that it was the teacher’s desk as well as her lunch table.  You readily agreed and while eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich the name Ellie miraculously (well actually with a lot of coaxing that you could do it) appeared on all 15 cards!  We were then able to stuff each card, a fishbowl which stated the words “I’m so glad you are in my school”, into a clear plastic bag with 5 Swedish fish.   Alas the task was complete and you seemed quite satisfied with their originality.

Ok… to be honest, you were more satisfied that there were left over Swedish fish for you to nibble on (and now I know why your Mommy left that job, I mean craft, for me to do with you!).  Next year let’s try to come up with something that really catches your interest!

So I guess the lesson I have learned Ellie, and even though you are not fully aware of it yet, you too are learning that St. Valentine’s purpose was very real and very important.  His actions came from his faith, and his faith encouraged him to help, support and show kindness to others no matter how difficult and sometimes unbearable a situation could be.  Ellie, this past week you have shown signs that a bit of St. Valentine is very much in your heart.  You see, when it came to making a Valentine for a very special little girl, Kendall who is gravely ill, you created two homemade ones for her, as you thought that would make her happy.  And when her Mommy reads them to her, I believe she will be.  Yes, we recognize February 14th as the designated day to show others an affection of kindness, but there is no reason why we cannot follow suit every other day of the year too.  After all, St. Valentine did.

I love you “sweetie”!


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