Valentine's Day Parenting Reflections

by Jennifer Shakeel

a family photo on Valentines DayIf there is one day of the year as parents we should stop and take a moment or two to appreciate the little gems in life, it is Valentine’s Day. By gems, I mean those precious little people you helped to bring into the world. Yes, your children, our children. We have holidays that are meant to celebrate everything else except our children. Being that Valentine’s Day is suppose to be a day of celebrating love, I suggest that you spend it celebrating the greatest love in the world, that between a parent and their child.

In our house, Valentine’s Day is less about my husband and I and more about our three children. We have a special dinner together, either at home by candlelight or we go out all dressed up. While we don’t necessarily sit there at dinner and tell our children how wonderful they are, or how much we love them… we do spend the evening completely focused on them. There will be moments when my husband and I look at each other and whisper about how we cannot believe how much they have grown. We are amazed at the people they have become and how lucky we are that they are our children.

It’s funny in a way, not funny ha ha, that while we as parents think that we always appreciate our children. That we always let them know how much we love them. I remember one Valentine’s Day a few years ago, where we were faced with the possibility of losing one of our children, our son. It was probably the worst Valentine’s Day we had ever had. As a matter of fact, it was that year that I decided we didn’t need to celebrate Valentine’s Day anymore.
Our son has ADHD, and at that time he was taking Adderall. He became very sick; it was almost as if life had been sucked out of him. It was all he could do to walk from his bedroom to the bathroom and then he would have to lie down and sleep… for hours. We had taken him to the doctor, who told us that he probably just had the flu or something and he would be better in a few days. I kept telling the doctor he was wrong, that there was something seriously the matter with our son. I have seen him ill before, but this was not normal. He had no energy. That morning he woke up, telling me that he felt like he had just run marathon. His pulse was 187; he was pale, sweaty and very thirsty. As a nurse all I could think was that he was in a fib and needed to be taken to the hospital. In the end, as we sat there in the ER waiting to find out what the fate of our son was, a wonderful ER doctor came and sat down with us and explained that what had happened is that a virus had infected our son, and in him it attacked his heart.

So that Valentine’s Day we spent in the ER, our older daughter was with close family friends. We sat and watched the EKG machine and waited to see if they could stabilize our son. I actually told my husband that we may have to skip Valentine’s Day from now on. Fortunately they were able to stabilize him and we were able to take him home and monitor him there until he got better. It took a little over a week, and as scary as it was it was also a time where we focused on each other and cherished every moment we had together.

And from that Valentine’s Day on, we made it a family day where we celebrated being together. See, there isn’t really a holiday that is designed to celebrate our children and what they mean to us, and for siblings to celebrate the fact that they are siblings. We should take this day to be grateful for our children. Design a special dinner around them. Depending on their age and how close of a relationship you have with them, you could have a family candlelight dinner, make their favorite meal. One year, that was cereal and cold chicken wings. Don’t ask, it was what they wanted and we ate by candlelight and they loved it.

Play family games or go out to a movie together. Better yet, spend the evening talking to each other and more importantly listening to your children. Let’s face it, we are incredibly busy, and our children are very busy and I am sure that there are times when you half listen to your children. On this night, really spend time listening to them. Share with them some of your favorite memories about them. If you are like me, you could get out a few of the early Valentine’s Day cards they made for you. Your children may be surprised that you still have those art projects.
Of course we also do the Valentine’s Day gifts. Which is usually a box of candy and an incredibly large stuffed animal, just because I think they are cute, though last year we got our daughter roses because she is older and our son a GameBoy game and we are trying to be more healthy.

The point is that we all should take this day to be grateful for lives most precious gems, our children. It doesn’t matter if it means that we take a half hour to color with them, or put up with listening to those Jonas Brothers. Celebrate that amazingly deep unconditional love we have for them this Valentine’s Day.

Biography
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience.  As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!

No part of this article may be copied or reproduced in any form without the express permission of More4Kids Inc © 2009 All Rights Reserved 

Peace and Love from all of us here at More4kids, and thankyou Jennifer for sharing this story with us. It helps make us more grateful and thankful for our children.

Happy Valentines Day!!

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