How do you tell your mom you love her?  Well, you might compare her to what you think about most in the world.  If you are a nine year old boy, that just might be Star Wars.

When my boys make something by hand, I cherish it.  Even more so if it is made especially for me. Most parents have a soft spot for what our kids give us, but Moms tend to be the savers of pieces of paper, squirreling these treasures away inside scrapbooks, folders, and files, for posterity or reminiscence in some unknown future time.  Because I oversee much of the creative work that happens at home with my kids, I’m rarely surprised by the end results. This means that I look forward to the surprises that come from school, pieces of writing and art that happen under another person’s guidance.

So February arrives (where did January go!?), the month when heartfelt cards are exchanged.  When another parent gently suggested to my son’s third grade teacher that a handmade gift from the kids would be nice for Valentine’s Day, he enlisted my help to come up with a project. Cards seemed to be the most straight-forward thing to make, given that our time to put something together was limited to a Valentine’s Day party during the last forty minutes of school.

Here’s how we collaborated on the Valentine project:

  • I created a template for a simple heart-shaped card on decorative 12″ x 12″ paper, tracing out enough of these double hearts for each child to cut.
  •  Separately I cut out small card stock paper hearts for the kids to draw on with colored pencils.
  • I gave the teacher a list of ideas for what might be drawn on the little hearts before the party:  self portraits, a picture of the parent, a design or pattern, flowers, the words “I love you”, etc.
  • The teacher would lead the kids through a poem writing exercise during language arts time, getting them to “show not tell” their love for their loved ones.  These poems would be written out carefully on small pieces of paper to be pasted into the large folded hearts.
  • The students cut out the big hearts and attached all the small pieces during the class party, signing each card with love and their name.

The cards were a simple smashing success–I only wish I’d thought to photograph some of the funny and sincere messages inside.  A few kids read their poems aloud to their moms during the party, and more than one mom got a little teary.  Sigh.  Can we help it!?

A reading to her mom

D reads to his mom

That's Dobby the house elf with a Valentine

A, really not shy, reads with gusto "Mom, you are smarter than a dictionary!"

Regular readers might be able to spot my son’s Valentine among the photos above.  Look for the one with the castle battle scene and the robot doing mental math, and you’ve got it. Here’s what L wrote:

While some mothers might be compared to sunsets, and flowers, and comfortable pillows, this mom is more (fill in the blank) than Jedis and droids.  I love it.  My husband meanwhile, is deemed “taller than Chewbacca on a growthspurt,” with smarts to outmatch a computer game wizard, and unbeatable fortress strength.  I love that too.

C3PO, Chewbacca, stronghold castle Valentine

Funny thing about love. There are a gazillion ways to express it. This Valentine is surely a keeper (the most artistic mom in the whole world!?!), as is our goofy sweet nine year old boy.  Now if I could just try to feel the Force instead of getting angry, and dig into my memory banks to remember “over six million forms of communication” as I love my family, I’ll be doing all right.

That's AMORE under there

Love, to you all!  Happy Valentine’s Day.