My husband and I didn’t have any huge plans for Valentines Day specifically this year and we usually don’t. If we can get out for a night alone somewhere in February that usually counts as Valentines Day. I think it’s fun to celebrate but we aren’t huge on it around here. This year we had quite a few plans and it was awesome for me to take the time to look back and be aware of the different ways love presented itself in our lives over the weekend.
My cousin is a photographer. (Check out her work here) She’s pretty amazing at it, and she asked her sister and I this past week if we could get all the kids together for Valentines pictures. She took it upon herself to order shirts that would work well together and invited us over to her home for a photo session with 8 children; ranging in age from 4 months-6 years. It was wonderfully crazy. Babies spitting up, crawling out of pictures, little girls dying to change into play dresses rather than their outfits and candy hearts all over the place. We had so much fun and I LOVE the pictures she took. So display of love #1 for my weekend: generosity. She gave her talent and time freely so we could get priceless photographs of our children and I am so appreciative of it.
Friday afternoon I was invited to a new friend’s home for a Valentines party for the kiddos. It was nice to get out of the house and with homeschooling, I love an opportunity to give my children holiday parties that they miss out on at the public school. We were all excited to go. When we arrived there were crafts, snacks, drinks, cupcakes to decorate and valentines to pass out. My children were able to play and were full of joy making themselves at home here. This is a rarity when my little ones are in a place for the first time. Usually we have about half an hour of not leaving mommy’s side. I love that they were so comfortable here and that this mama had a home that was completely welcoming. Then, as if her hospitality wasn’t enough, we were packing up and she hands me a white bag with cute red paper mache sticking out of the top to take home. Inside I found a box of fine tipped markers, an adult coloring book, and some chocolates. How incredibly sweet and thoughtful?! The fact that she welcomed my children into her home and treated them with kindness made me love her forever, then she gave me a gift as I left as well, so thoughtful. Act of love for the weekend #2: hospitality and random acts of kindness.
Now the big plans for the weekend. We have family friends that we love to travel with. Our children are like siblings and we can relax when we are together. We wake up in the morning, have coffee together, slowly get ready and nobody is in a rush, it’s fantastic. So, all needing to get out, we scheduled a trip to the Dells for the weekend. My husband and I were unsure as the weekend was packed with events that we had planned on attending, but we needed it. We hadn’t been on vacation in almost 2 years and a weekend away sounded awesome. Now you should know that my husband has a new-ish job for the state which means if it snows, he works. We weren’t too concerned as we have had the mildest winter of our lives it seems like, but wouldn’t ya know…..it was supposed to snow this weekend. As we are preparing to leave Saturday morning my husband decides he should drive separately in case he gets called in. (This is a huge bummer for me because one of my favorite parts of any trip is the car ride, especially when he and I get to chat/sing the whole way) We finally arrived at the Wilderness Resort and were able to meet up with our friends, check in and get going. We spent the day on water slides, bumper boats and walking what seemed to be miles in this huge resort! Back at the room, cozy clothes were put on, fireplace lit, and pizza ordered. It was a fantastic start to the weekend. The next morning, the hubby got called in, which I knew would happen but still stunk! He went down in the below zero temps and the car he brought wouldn’t start. The battery was dead. He comes back to our room, lets me know he’s switching cars and the car seats and coats will be there for me. I wake up early with my little man, put the girls’ valentines gifts on their pillows as they sleep and prepare for the day. We head to do pottery with the oldest kids on the trip while friends watch my babe. As we arrive back at our room I’m thinking I should track down my debit card for the day. Nowhere to be found. I call Clint and he says he checked several times it’s not in his wallet, he assumed it was in mine. So, 3 hours away, he checks in my van on the floor and guess what’s there? I am now at a resort with my 3 children, a car with a dead battery and no money. Now, this could have been a complete disaster, but remember who we were traveling with? Amazing people. They helped with my children, jumped the car, paid for our dinner….without a complaint. What I so much appreciate is none of this was necessary, we had snacks that we could have eaten and I could’ve taken all my kiddos with me for the rest of the trip, it would’ve been nuts, but I could do it. Their kindness and unselfishness on a trip that was for their family as well is something my family will never forget. Act of love #3: friendship that looks like family.
Now, the final act that I don’t think gets the attention it deserves. Was our trip a bit frustrating? Yes. Did we make the best of it? Yes. But let me tell you why I made the choice to not get worked up about our circumstances. It was extremely unfortunate that my kids didn’t get to hang with daddy during the trip they had so been anticipating. I felt terrible borrowing money from friends unexpectedly and getting their help with our vehicle. In the midst of our being in a waterpark all weekend my husband who worked hard to pay for it all, didn’t get to enjoy the trip he had looked forward to. He drove home early in the morning with little sleep to work an almost 24 hour shift. And if he doesn’t complain about that then I surely don’t have grounds for anger. Disappointment…yes, anger…no. Act of love #4: perseverance. This is the daily act in a marriage. Working together through everything and not taking each other for granted. Realizing when something is off and working together to fix it. Learning from your mistakes and being stronger for it. For example….don’t plan a trip in the winter if your husband drives a snow plow, even if it was 50 degrees the week before 😉
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:7