Hearts and Flowers

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Oh, friends. Last week I had Captain America out of town, an 8 year old down with a fever for days, and some winter weather that threatened my sanity. I think all of Facebook rejoiced when Captain America got back home. It was getting a little “Should we be laughing because it’s funny, or is she seriously snapping?” I was aiming to make light of it and get a laugh, but yes, I was also snapping. But it’s done now and life moves on.

It’s Valentine excitement all around, and I just had to share a story about my oldest girl’s heart. Because her middle name is Grace, but it could just as well be Compassion. The girls were really enjoying filling out their Valentines this year. “It only comes once a year!” “It’s nice to make people feel special!” It was making up for at least a few of those times where I’ve had to say, “Didn’t I already ask you twice to GET OFF THE IPAD?” They are givers, and I love it.

Ella has a boy in her class that’s diabetic. Every time Ella needs to bring treats of some kind, she wants to make sure there’s something he can have. “Twelve carbs or less, Mom. He can only have the treat if it’s no more than 12 carbs.” Usually kids bring cupcakes, and he takes it home so his brother can have it. Ella brought pudding cups, and made sure to bring some that were sugar free so he could pretty much have the same treat everyone else was having. Because she’s Ella.

So now she was packaging up Valentine treat bags. I hadn’t even thought of it, but then I heard, “Mom! The sucker is less than 12 carbs!” But the Rice Krispie treat wasn’t. She was so disappointed. So we figured out a plan where she could take a sucker from one of her teacher Valentines (Sorry about that, Mr. Bonnar, but we thought you wouldn’t mind), so her friend still got two treats but they were both something he could have. Then she cut out the nutrition label for the suckers, and put it in the bag so he would know for sure that he could have it.

I know Valentine’s Day gets over commercialized – I mean, it’s pretty much a Hallmark Holiday. Not a lot of substance to it. It’s obnoxious even. But I love it. I love the idea of taking a day to tell people they are special. Not everyone hears it as much as they should, or as much as they need to hear it. Even if it’s because the teacher tells you that if you do Valentines, you have to do them for EVERYONE. For one day, whether you’re the cool kid or the picked on kid – everyone is special and important. Ella thinks it’s sad that kids have to be told to bring a Valentine for everyone. I am so thankful for Ella and her big heart, and I hope I can be more like her.

**Edit** I should add, Natalie made sure her candy to give was completely peanut (and thus also chocolate) free due to the peanut allergy in her class. She checked labels as well, and following Ella’s lead, made sure the nutrition info was available on the items for her classmate. They both have huge hearts.

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