No Red Hearts Allowed

 

Valentine’s Day is here. I’m going to go ahead and admit this. I’m a big, fat Valentine’s Day Scrooge. I suck at the whole red hearts and cards containing love sonnets thing. Love is hard for me. I grew up in a family of wolves - really mean wolves. And so, I became a really mean kid and young person. I was angry and resentful and so, so... damaged. It took years and years and loads of work to find the place I’m in. It’s a good place, but the road was hard. Getting here required walking away from every person I’d ever known and building a new life. It took refusing to have children for a long, long time. It took having a hard, hard first child and messing up in more ways than I can count and forgiveness and courage and bravery and more forgiveness and finally now I am mostly the type of mother I’d have like to have had. Now, finally, I’m the type of mother I’m proud that my children have.

This mother that I’ve become... I like her. She’d have understood the hot mess of wreckage that was me as a child. She would never have turned her back on my hardness or let me be ostracized. She’d have welcomed me into her home accepting that the disaster I had become hid a little girl whose little light was still in there. She’d have loved me even with all the wolfishness. This mother I’ve become…. she’s working at it all.

And so, it’s Valentine’s Day, and nothing can push your mama buttons and set your nerves on edge like a situation you’re already uncomfortable about with your kids thrown in for extra fun. A couple of these kids I’ve got are tough cookies though. We are heading into uncomfortable and choosing to redefine the whole thing.

I want my children and myself to practice loving this day and every other day. And I want us to make extra efforts to love people who might be a little hard. I want us to step outside of the comfortable box I’ve built and work hard at love. My partner and I are working on ways to do this with them. Safe ways. Healthy ways. Bold ways. And then, my children and I are working on a list of special and simple things that we can do for others to celebrate that loving someone can also be easy. We can put the neighbor’s garbage cans away. We can bring fruit to the porch of a friend. We can bake cookies for teachers and coaches. I want them to learn that love is in the little things every, single day.

I don’t mind Valentine’s Day so much when I think of it as a day spent like this. It’s nice to think of the little girl I was and celebrate her warrior little self while watching my own little ones love and give and celebrate others with their hearts wide open. FratBoy woke up this morning and got buck naked and then slipped an apron on before insisting that her riding teachers “needed” more meringues. The Tyrant has been inappropriately in love with his pediatrician his entire life and thinks of her every single time he and his siblings get treats. “Let’s get one for my Dr. [Girlfriend] , Mom! It will make her have a great day!” Healing and love and making others smile. That’s gotta be the right thing. I think we’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day more often just like this, no red hearts allowed.

 

Tracy Breaux is a regular blogger with nola family. to read more of Tracy's blogs

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