Recently while I was cleaning out a drawer, my eyes fell upon a little pink heart. I was instantly brought back to a Valentine’s Day celebration twelve years ago.

Photo: Leah Eggers, Texas

My family knows that I am not a big fan of Valentine’s Day – or any of those I-must-buy-a-card-or-I-am-a-bad-person holidays. But that year, early in February, you might say I had a change of, well, heart. Actually, I had recently purchased some exquisite, richly textured papers in beautiful shades of reds and pinks.

As if on cue, my daughter, Adaire, promptly reminded me that she needed to buy Valentine’s Day cards for her classmates. So it was decided that the paper would be the reason not to buy cards but to make our own. Even at the age of seven this idea was met with a roll of the eyes. She just wanted to buy the already-made cards and not be bothered making them from scratch! Making anything was of little interest to her. After some cajoling, I set about teaching Adaire how to draw the shape of the heart. After a few attempts she got it and soon we had pages of paper hearts. Soon we had many more decorative hearts than needed. Too attached to throw them away, we put them to good use.

Adaire and I decided to surprise each other, and dad too, by hiding these little beauties all around the house, to be discovered throughout Valentine’s Day. We spent the next two days sneaking our little hearts into shoes, wallets, pockets, and even coffee mugs.  I awoke on Valentine’s Day to little pink and red hearts sprinkled about my pillowcase, in my slippers and, yes, in my coffee mug. Surprises continued throughout the day for all of us—my husband opened his laptop to a dozen little hearts sprinkled on the keys. Reaching for his gloves, a few more hearts spilled out. Even Adaire was surprised at school when she opened her lunch box to see her little creations. Some has simple messages like “Smile” or “I Love You” or “Have a Great Day.”

Looking back, I will admit that I thoroughly enjoyed that Valentine’s Day. Perhaps it was spending time with my daughter, or the fun of hiding hearts. Or perhaps it was simply reminding the most important people in my life that I loved them.

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