It arrived three days early.
Leaning precariously on our kitchen counter, it taunted us to tear into its contents every time we looked its way.
Sunlight, streaming through the panes of glass, reflecting brightly off of the two dozen inches of snow accumulated outside, spotlighted the taunt. We knew there were warm sentiments inside, packaged lovingly and mailed from her college campus 2 hours away.
On the 14th, as soon as the first foot planted itself on the morning’s cold wood floor boards, her sisters, father, and I were tearing into the sweetly packed envelope.
I admired her sweet notes to her sisters. Then I cried as I read the beautiful thoughts and compliments she had penned to me. It was the first Valentine’s Day since God placed her in my arms that I couldn’t hug her and kiss her wisps of auburn curls framing her forehead. But her sentiments offered this momma’s heart deep consolation.
Consolation that in the end maybe I did alright by her, or at least in her eyes I did. Consolation that my time was well spent all those nights I lost sleep, pacing the floors with her in my arms, and all those days I missed out on simple things I now take for granted as the mother of teens–sleeping in on Saturdays and taking long showers with zero interruptions. Consolation that God used my feeble attempts through the years to explain my unexplainable love to show her His perfect love. Consolation that she now, as a grown woman, is exuding that love back on her family.
I used to think that just those sweet baby eyes smiling at me were enough love returned. Or those treasured notes that I will keep forever, scribbled to me with pudgy fingers. Or watching her overcome a fear, hit a home run, or earn her first “A” in a class not taught by momma. But wait, sweet moms of little ones, just wait. It gets so much better.
Keep loving them by drying their tears, kissing their scrapes, and punishing their disrespectful actions. Keep loving them by teaching them the phases of the moon, the color wheel, state capitals, and lyrics to Nat King Cole songs while you twirl them around the kitchen floor. Keep loving them by enforcing their teenage curfew and insisting you get to spend time with all their friends. Keep loving them through it all, and one day you’ll excitedly unwrap their adult love thrown right back at you.
They will make you wait. And wait. But anything so sweet as the consolation I unwrapped this Valentine’s Day is very worth the wait.