Saturday, February 2, 2013

Valentine's Gratitude Box


We've gotten out our Valentine's gratitude box again this year.

Over the next two weeks we'll write down things we love about our family members, pets included, and pop them in the box. We'll read them on Valentine's Day. Margaret didn't want to do it last year, without Jack, but we did it any way and I'm glad because this year she's excited again. Please read these short posts to check out what some past notes said, remembering that I used to call Jack Jake on this blog, and Margaret Molly. I know I could/should change that, but I'm lazy. Regardless of what we call her, that Margaret/Molly cracks me up!

And while I'll never know why Jack didn't participate in our gratitude box that first year (lazy like his mom?) when he had the chance, I did find two special things while cleaning out my bedroom closet this week. Thank you to whatever teacher probably forced Jack to write these gems:

Undated Valentine to Mom from Jack:

"Dear Mom,
I love you because you aren't to (sic) strict.
I'm thankful you help me with stuff.
I love it when you be nice."

And to Tim and Anna, an undated thank you note, which was probably assigned as a paragraph, but ended up as one long sentence instead:

"Thank you, my loving, gracious, perfect, wonderful, spectacular, amazing, supporting, instructive, caring, great, outstanding, remarkable, swell, marvy, groovy, kind, superb, glorious parents, for being my parents. Love, Jack"

On the front is a stick figure farmer saying "Farm," (?) a stick figure Ninja saying "Hi-Ya" (?) and a stick figure pirate saying "Argh" because all of that makes so much sense.

And while we're talking gratitude, I could fill a gratitude box with what YOU have done for me by reading this blog, leaving kind words, praying, allowing what has happened to affect your lives in some way, and stepping right into our story with us, even when it's hard.

You really be nice.

45 comments:

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said...

I love this idea! What a great way to document all the love that is in our family, since some days, among all the driving, cooking, homework, etc., that love is hard to find. I appreciate you, too!

Ellen aka Ellie said...

Try explaining to a class of boys they need to draw what Mom might be a fan of instead of what they like.

Could be why my most favorite Mom's Day card was orange, Mac's favorite color.

Ninja on!

Recovering Church Lady said...

That is an awesome idea! But I must admit that the main thing that caught my eye in this post was the huge jar of conversation hearts!! I love them so much, too much. That jar would be empty in no time!

Lady Jennie said...

I think you should frame that awesome treasure of a paragraph you found from Jack. What a gift!

And your box and candy hearts are really pretty - soothing to the eye. Why didn't I get any decorative genes?

Anonymous said...

"On the front is a stick figure farmer saying "Farm," (?) a stick figure Ninja saying "Hi-Ya" (?) and a stick figure pirate saying "Argh" because all of that makes so much sense."

Each one is saying something that reflects his nature. A Ninja should make a martial-arts sound; a pirate should say things like "argh" and "shiver me timbers"; and what else would a farmer say, but "farm."

Maybe he was telling you that you and Tim made him feel loved and accepted for who he really was.

A Speckled Trout said...

What a sweet little treasure your farming, ninja, pirate left for you to uncover. Argh........that kid is a gem. And his mom???? She really be a good writer.

Elisa @ What the Vita said...

And I'm thankful for you and your words and how you keep on writing! xoxo

Irene Bean said...

When my son was 7 years old he told me, “I love you more than all the lampposts in the world.” That was many years ago yet his conceptual semantics will reside in my heart forever. Regarding gratitude, it’s thought that practicing gratitude is pervasively underused. How much kinder our world would be if gratitude was our inherent nature. Bravo for your gratitude box!Delightful!

Peach Prenni said...

LOVE this post. Love the idea of the gratitude box. Love the notes you found!! I call those God Winks!
xo
Annie

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I think we could use a gratitude box in this house. I know we all feel it but don't express it often at all! Love your notes from Jack. I am grateful to have meet you. Feel horrible about the circumstances of our meeting but God has given me a different view of life through you and Jack.
((HUGS))

aly said...

What a sweet idea. ♥

Meredith Self said...

...even when it's hard! Absolutely!

This may be another family ritual I borrow from Anna!

IrishRN07 said...

Love this post!

Anonymous said...

From me and all the moms that feel this pain. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The Valentine card I have from my son has been in the glove compartment of my old BMW that my 16 year old daughter drives now. I took it out and put it on the bookshelf when we lost him in July. It's a red construction paper folded in half with a heart that he drew in purple. His 2nd grade picture is glued to the front and he wrote LOVE in glitter. On the inside it says MOM.

Lisa C said...

Thank you for this idea. I love reading past messages from the children. I don't save everything but those little gems are so meaningful five/ten years down the road.
Much love.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you found those notes. And wow, I haven't heard "marvy" in years. Good one!

love,
jbhat

Lisa said...

I love the Valentine message box. Someday I hope we can do that here.

I especially love that Jack illustrated his cards. My oldest is famous for that. :)

Jennifer said...

Marvy. I love it!

Marinka said...

Love it. And I'm glad that Margaret is excited about it again this year. Also, if you need anyone to help you eat the candy, please know that I'm here for you. xo

Rach said...

You know, this is such a beautiful and brilliant idea! Thank you for reminding me of it! :o)

Aren't those unexpected treasures bittersweet?

I have found I hold on to way more notes, drawings, and such ephemera because of how wonderful it is to find those little surprises. But, really, how many watercolors that are merely splashes of color washed on the page do I really need? I have to find a balance...

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

Just catching up because I haven't been by in a bit - read through several posts which made me laugh and well up and love you even more!

Glad you are over the flu...we had it here, too - I seriously could not get out of bed for like 4 days straight. Thank God my husband is the cook and I'm just the sous chef.

Patricia said...

Thank you, dear Mom, for opening up your heart to us....And for opening our hearts and our eyes to what is really important in this world....

Nicole Yontz said...

This is the most beautiful idea and I stealing it later when Audrey has grown up. Right now I'd be happy if shejust peed in the right place. Xoxo. Thinking of you guys.

Princess Kate said...

Thinking about you guys always. Love this idea.

Anonymous said...

I think your blog is a huge gift to your daughter. There's one thing we really don't know how to do in modern times and that is grieve, to experience loss (and not run away from it), to mourn in a way that heals (by which I mean mourning WITH OTHERS and not alone, locked away, and hiding). It's so very odd because we will ALL experience these things. Even if it's not as severe as what you are experiencing, we all do experience it eventually. So what you are giving your daughter is a record of how to experience great loss in the "best" way possible (I hate to use the word "best"). You are giving her a model of how to reach out to others when she needs it so that these experiences become not merely horrible, but also filled with grace. This is a gift to her much greater than you know. (I might also add that it is model for myself as well. Thank you.)

Momma Holmes said...

Love this idea and what it could help me teach the men in my life (mom of three sons and husband of 22 years) about showing the woman in their life how they feel. TY!

Lori said...

I really love love this idea. I had planned to do some special things in honor of this month of love but so far haven't done a thing because our year hasn't started out so good and we are still trying to get our heads above water...so we will see. What a treasure to find those notes from Jack. I have a 7 year old who is a boy of few written words :) so when he does write me something I treasure it so much. Last year around this time, out of the blue he made me a book of love(it might have something to do with having a sister who is a year younger that is a creating maniac :) which I have put away as a keepsake.

Mariah and Val said...

:) Thanks for letting us be a part of your life.

Anonymous said...

Such a sweet idea! you and your family are in my prayers..

Nicole said...

I just wanted to tell you, I love Anna. Thank you for sharing with us.

Michele Wood said...

I love this idea and think we will try it at our house. Goodness knows we could all use some kind words for each other right now! Being cooped up indoors doesn't bring out the best in my family!

Those notes you found are just priceless, especially the one from Jack. Hugs, Michele

Esther said...

That's funny about the different names at the beginning of the blog. When I found your blog, I went back to the beginning and started reading. I kept toggling back and forth, because I couldn't figure out if Tim was Tom, or Tom was Tim, or who Tom was if Tim was your hubby. Now it all makes sense.

Peyton's Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heidi said...

I remember this idea and love that you're doing it. I'm so glad you came across those gems from Jack.

And... Hi, friend. Sorry I haven't been around as much. I'm in the home stretch now with editing and it is has been excruciatingly painful and slow. I'm either writing or being a dance mom. Anyway. I just wanted you to know I think of you often. I really do. And I love you.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you are continuing this tradition. I am grateful for you. You show love and courage and humility. You are a great mom.

anymommy said...

Beautiful idea! Jack's drawing made me laugh, I've seen many of those around this house and they NEVER make any sense. Thanks for letting us walk beside you, Anna, at least sometimes.

Loukia said...

Thank you for letting us in. And allowing us to know your beautiful son, and to live every day thankful for what we have. You've taught us a whole lot. xoxo

Anonymous said...

You remain in my prayers this weekend, and my heart goes out to those who have mentioned losses above.

rosetells said...

Hey, Anna
I just heard the song "How" by Regina Spektor, and it made me think of and pray for you (you can find it on youtube). Maybe songs of loss aren't what you're looking for, but maybe you'd find that it speaks to you. I feel comforted some times when I'm given words to put to an experience.

In any case you and your family are so often in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you!

Paula said...

I think you should frame that thank you note from Jack. In fact, I think any of us who finds a note like that from our kids should frame it. That is just awesome! Hope the love and laughter flows these two weeks...loveyou.

A and D said...

Hi Anna, I love this idea and have been searching for a box like this. I think where you got it originally (Michaels) doesn't carry them anymore but if you ever do see them, please let us know. I think this is a beautiful idea to try with the family a couple times/year, maybe even not at the holidays.

You are amazing...

IrishRN07 said...

Such a beautiful boy. I love the tearful picture, because you can feel the hurt and the drama...but it's actually over a hair cut so it's kinda funny!

Laura said...

I love this idea too! We missed Valentine's day, maybe we'll hit Easter this year and v-day next. Might have to help my 4 year old... but I love this! And I love the love notes from Jack...

Jom said...

Hmm, good job! This is really something!