Friday, February 12, 2010

Conversation Hearts


Ah....Conversation hearts.....

Do you remember the credence we put in those in elementary school? Do you remember how scandalous it was when a certain boy gave a certain girl a Valentine with a certain conversation candy heart attached to it?

Ah.....Conversation hearts.....

The chalky, sugary, food dye infused staple of February 14th. They were the heart shaped do-dads that we glued onto doilies, red hearts, and Valentine crafts to bring home to our parents - the favorite February festive craft of the elementary art class teacher.

Ah...conversation hearts......

The little candy "love notes" that try and relay how much our true love...or at least our Valentine of the day...cared for us.

There is no doubt about it, if there were no conversation hearts, Valentine's Day just would not be the same. That little bite-size sweet gesture is such an iconic part of the day that celebrates love - or at least being "in love." Even if you can't stand the the taste of the treat or smirk at the sayings on them that change from generation to generation (OK....TEXT ME is just plain silly to put on a candy heart....), I bet you still have a soft spot in your heart for the high fructose fortified feeling filled hearts that say romance on this special day.

No matter who we are, somewhere deep inside, let's face it, we all want to get a good conversation heart. A pink heart bearing "I LUV U" declarations, a green proclaiming your "SOUL MATE" status, or a white heart exclaiming a passionate "I WANT U", all carry the messages we desire to hear on this special day of romantic celebration. It's human and natural...we all want to feel loved.

I truly appreciate the conversation hearts. I have a bag here on my desk as inspiration (and a snack) as write this. Some of the sayings are trite and maybe even a bit shallow, and some could use some updating. But I still get that ushy gushy feeling when I read the sayings and daydream of my Valentine picking out just the right hearts with the right romantic sayings to give to me.... "I'LL DO THE DISHES"...."DOG"S BEEN FED"..."I'LL DEAL WITH THE KIDS".....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Today is a milestone day. My Baby Hat C turns 13 today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY C! It's official in our more little kids. No more kid's meals at restaurants, no more kids admittance prices to movies, theme parks and museums. No more birthday gifts of barbies and toys; it's on to electronics. No more knocking on the neighbor friend's door to come out and ride bikes - we are on to facebook chats and texting. We have moved on into the world of teens. It is a milestone day.

In fact, this is a milestone year.

All my baby hats are reaching milestone ages this year - 21, 16, 13. How strange it is going to be to know that my oldest baby hat can sit down and have a glass of wine with her father and me if she wanted to. How strange to see my middle baby hat move from foot power to horsepower as a means of getting around. And my youngest baby hat...well, we've already covered that!

When they were younger, I remember not really wanting the time to pass before my eyes, but yet always looking forward to the day when they were a little bit more self sufficient. As a young mom with three kids I got worn out and tired. As much as I enjoyed being a mom (and still do) , the thought of a bit of the load lightening with their increasing independence seemed like it would lift some of the weight that I felt. The small little pebbles of "ableness" - buckling their own car seat belt, tying shoes that actually ended up on the right feet, walking to the bus stop for school, gave me the illusion that my job as mom was getting easier. My back was less tired as a child spent less and less time on my left hip. I had two free arms to get things done. When we reached the milestone of having all three kids in school, my load was I thought.

As they have gotten older and reached more milestones, they weight of motherhood is different. I may not have as many physical demands and they may not be as physically dependent, but the load is still there. My back may not hurt and feel like it's going to break, but sometimes my heart does. Sleepless nights because of a crying baby or chasing away nightmare monsters are replaced with sleepless nights of worry or soothing a sad child who has just experienced a breakup with a boyfriend. The milestones that in many ways lifted the load from my back did just that, but placed them right on my heart.

Milestones are necessary. They are to be celebrated. In most ways they are good. The milestones our children reach are indicators that as parents we are doing our job. But, they aren't always easy.

I am so proud of my baby hats and proud of the milestones that they have reached. I am privileged to be able to share their moments of accomplishment and independence. And as much as it weighs my heart to watch them grow up, it also strengthens it. I guess that's so my heart has the muscles for the rest of life's milestones.....