I was up, showered, dressed…I even had on makeup…all before my kids came down for breakfast. That was an unusual feat for this not-a-morning-person mama. But this wasn’t just an ordinary day. This was Mom’s Valentine Tea at my son’s preschool.
Not only was I excited to wear cute shoes and curl my hair, I had visions of my little guy and myself chatting it up with all his friends and their moms…just as I had done with his sister a couple years before. My visions of our perfect little date were interrupted by my son bounding down the stairs. I could not believe my eyes. There, before me, stood my son in his favorite sweats and Avengers T-shirt.
“Is that what you’re wearing to school?” I asked as nonchalantly as I could.
“Yup” he replied matter-of-factly, not even considering that The Incredible Hulk might not be appropriate attire for a Mother-Son Valentine Tea.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from his older sister, it’s to choose my battles wisely, especially when they involve wardrobe choices. My mantra has always been, If it’s modest and weather-appropriate, it’s not worth the battle. So, I bit my tongue.
Still, there was no hiding my disappointment as I walked back to my bedroom.
“Uh-oh, what’s wrong?” my husband asked.
“Have you seen what your son is wearing?” (yes, his son)
No further explanation was needed.
“I’m on it,” my husband replied, quickly exiting the room to track down “his” son. He swept our little guy back upstairs, and I heard glimpses of great wisdom being imparted…
“This is a special day…”
“Mommy is going to your school…”
“You want to look nice for Mommy when she comes to your school, right?”
A few minutes later, my son arrived downstairs, looking like this…
Your heart just melted a little bit, didn’t it? I know mine did.
My husband had recognized something that I, in my disappointment, had missed: a teachable moment. I think he was trying to teach our son about manhood and how a man treats a lady (and he did). But I think the greater lesson was about love itself.
While Valentine’s Day is about flowers and cards and candy and hearts, love isn’t really about any of those things. Those things express our feelings of love. But love is so. much. more. More than cards. More than flowers. More than a feeling.
Love is about putting someone else before yourself.
Love is sitting through two and a half hours of non-stop singing because your wife is a sucker for a good story.
Love is going to the pharmacy for medication when you are sick yourself.
Love is holding a scared child in the night or rising early to make a special breakfast.
Love is wearing a button-up shirt and vest when you really want to wear Iron Man. 🙂
But love isn’t just the sacrifices we make for those closest to us.
It’s also taking a meal to someone recovering from surgery or sickness.
It’s stopping in the middle of your day to help someone in need.
It’s taking the time to write a note, e-mail, or text to a friend who needs encouragement.
Jesus explained it this way,
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
As you think about love this Valentine’s Day, you don’t have to jump in front of a bus for someone to show your love. You don’t have to take a bullet. You don’t even have to have a Valentine. You can show a little love by simply finding a way to put someone else’s needs or desires above your own. I think we can all do that.
How has someone shown you love recently?
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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.