Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The best gift of all

In the almost-year since I started this blog, I’ve made a blogger friend. Her name is Rachel and she blogs at Hands Free Mama...her mission is to get all of us, as parents, away from our iPhones and Blackberries and to-do lists long enough to really be present with our children. Since I have a pretty frenetic life, sometimes her posts are hard for me to read. However, she does make me think. So, Rachel, this one is for you.

Yesterday was a DAY. It began at 6:00 a.m., when Caroline was ready to package the cookies she I had made for her valentines. She wanted heart shaped cookies with a window-pane center, which was a melted hard candy. Quite unfortunately, she had taken pre-orders from about 45 kids, so she knew their preferred Jolly Rancher flavor. So at the crack of dawn (literally), she’s screaming down the assembly line (made up of me and Jack), “I need a blue raspberry over here! No, the watermelon goes in that bag. Green apple? I didn’t ask for green apple! People, WORK with me!” (Thankfully, she later put her drama to a more appreciated use in the class play.)

My whole day was spent running balloon and cupcake and cookie errands and then at the school, running from one class party to the other, ferrying treats back and forth, taking pictures, videotaping, serving kids, cleaning general, it was chaos. After school remained just as crazy. Finally, twelve hours after my day began, I’d had enough. The kids were strung out. We were all completely exhausted.

Whit was out of town, so it was just me and Jack and Caroline.

We ordered pizza and put on our pajamas.

And sat on the family room floor and ate pizza straight out of the box and watched Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

And cuddled.

And laughed.

And, my friend Rachel, I thought of you. Because as I sat there with those kids next to me, and as I laughed with them (and yes, as I warned them not to spill milk on the rug and reminded them to eat their carrots, because I am, after all, still me), I realized that, without a doubt, it was my very favorite part of Valentine’s Day.

Don’t get me wrong; I loved the treats and the parties and the play and the excitement. But I didn’t want that movie to end.

So, kids, when you’re older and you find this blog, despite all my attempts to hide it from you, I just want you to know that you really were my Valentine's Day present yesterday.

And Jack, you’re right.

Love doesn’t take much work at all.


  1. I will admit, when friends start off by saying, "Yesterday, I thought of you, Hands Free Mama," sometimes I can tell they really just want to cuss me out. Because the truth is, sometimes that little inner voice that says, "You need to go 'Hands Free'" is not what you are wanting to hear at that moment ... but it is always when we MOST need to go Hands Free. (And I know from personal experience!)

    I love your story so much, Julie. It shows that meaningful connection and real love is found in the most simple, stripped down, and authentic moments of our jammed packed lives. This makes me want to curl up on the couch with my two favorite little girls and watch "Little House on The Prairie" together!

    You have made my week, my friend. I adore you.

  2. God bless your son - he knows what he's talking about!