by Sara Marchessault
To be honest, I used to not really be into Valentine’s Day. I would politely ooo and aah over the flowers that colleagues would receive at work and I would plan a nice meal for dinner at home (which is not really a big deal in my house – we eat well on a daily basis).
The year I worked in Los Angeles during Valentine’s Day I laughed quite at bit at ads for plastic surgery packages for two on the radio.
In the days of yore I did not buy cards, chocolate, gifts (big or small), or go out of my way to wear red or pink.
And then, once upon a time I had babies and turned into a great big softie who grins wildly at every ounce of cuteness, tears up for any number of occasions from Ayla speaking clearly into a microphone on stage to Jude telling me he wuvs me as much as pancakes, and who sincerely tries to see the miracle in every human life, not just the ones that grew in my own tummy.
It would seem as a bi-product of this saturation of emotion that I am now “into” Valentine’s Day. Did my husband get the memo?
Yes, I had heard other women talk about how being a mother is the most wonderful experience in the world. I had heard how gratifying it can be, how fantastic it is to have a relationship with this sweet, little, bundle of joy.
I thought I was a pretty nice person before my kids were born, but since their arrival and continued presence I have experienced a transformation in my level of compassion of empathy toward others. (And maybe also in my frustration with others who have none or very little.)
This year I have delivered 142 Valentine’s to friends and family. This does not count the ones the kids will exchange at preschool. I have given my husband a gift this week that is just for him. I have chocolate for my students, which to most of them is one of the top five signs of a kind teacher.
Remember at the end of the Grinch, when the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day?
The Grinch’s perspective changed. The way he saw the world was altered in such a way that he may never go back to what he was before. And if he did, the story would be different. He would always be the Grinch who everyone loved that suddenly changed into a miser.
And seriously, he would likely need to suffer a traumatic loss or a personality-altering head injury for that to happen.
This is what happens when we become mommies. This happens to women who planned to be moms and women who didn’t.
Our hearts grow. With each kid, with each look of adoration, display of affection, and moment that we are shocked and awed at the teeny size of the perfectly shaped miniature hand in ours. The voice that talks about nothing and everything as it is mastering the art of language. The development of self-sufficiency and independence right before our eyes.
When you become a parent, everything changes. Even Valentine’s Day.
Like this article? Please feel free to use it on your own blog or newsletter. I simply ask that you please include this blurb: Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, teacher, and mom who helps busy women use journaling to create more space in their life for being productive without feeling overwhelmed. To learn more about Sara and her work in the world, please visit joyfulbydesign.com or saramarchessault.com.