I’d Choose the Same

Dear Millie,

Happy Friday!  Do you have any plans for the weekend?  A garage sale, perhaps?  I still laugh about your signs!

Gordon is taking our dog to the vet today.  I’m not sure what to do, exactly, so I’m anxiously procrastinating anything else that needs to be done today.

You’re in trouble for two things: 1-) eating on my couch!  And, 2-) feeding our doggie Pop-Tarts!  Except that we eat on the couch all the time when the kids aren’t around, and the unfrosted edges of Pop-Tarts are pretty worthless.

Valentine’s Day!  Oh my.  I always have such lofty plans.  I think I need to stop doing that so that I won’t be disappointed.  I’d hoped to have the house covered in paper hearts and red and white everywhere when the boys got home from school.  We’d have a fancy dinner and just have a marvelously good time, complete with valentine trinkets and love notes.

I started the night before (after the boys all finished their class valentines [speaking of which, Truman was cutting his out a day or two in advance and I noticed he was cutting left-handed.  I asked him what the story was on that he he replied, “Oh, I always write with my right hand and cut with my left.”  Why not?] [Also, the boys had wanted to attach Starbursts to their valentines.  Apparently, the tape we used didn’t hold up too well because the day after Valentine’s Day, Truman opened up his backpack and pulled out a bag full of Starbursts and began eating them.  He guessed some *might* have fallen off the valentines he gave out.  I counted 17.  There were 23 kids he gave valentines to and each kid was supposed to get two.  I hope all of them at least got one!]) and it went downhill from there.

I’ve had a mailbox sitting in our entryway since about Thanksgiving.  I’d hoped to encourage the women at church to write little notes to the missionaries and servicemen/women from our ward.  A friend had an extra mailbox at her house and brought it over.  I never got around to painting it or getting little note-sized papers and also pens to organize craftily on a table at the church. Consequently, we didn’t get anything out for them for Christmas.  I ended up buying colored index cards and envelopes and putting them on the foyer table so that all the ward members could participate in sending a little love their way for Valentine’s Day.  I still have two of the envelopes in my car, needing addresses.

I just realized I still haven’t sent you our Christmas card!  Ha!  I was joking when I said you could plan on seeing it around Valentine’s Day, but I think I underestimated myself.  Ha ha!

Back to the mailbox.  My friend said she didn’t want it back, so I decided to spray paint it white and maybe get some red vinyl letters to put on the side.  What ended up happening was a colossal craft fail.  I never claimed to be a Banksy, but I also had no idea I could ruin a spray paint job.  I read and followed the directions carefully, and still ended up with dripping paint streaking down the sides and uneven coats.  By the time I finished it and brought it in the next day, the door wouldn’t open or close properly.  It looked really, really bad.  My idea for vinyl lettering was a great one, except that I don’t have access to vinyl letters.  I saw some gel clings at the grocery store and slapped those on.  It’s a sad-looking mailbox.

Kyle had taken brownies for his class party.  The teacher had sent home a list of items needed, and I detached the slip and sent it back and even messaged about whether Little Debbie cosmic brownies (which are processed in a facility where nuts are also handled) would be acceptable in their nut-free classroom (I can’t even tell you how sad I feel for families who have to deal with food allergies!).  Kyle returned with a box of brownies because apparently, another kid in his class had brought ALL of the treats requested plus some, and so most of his classmates didn’t want even more.  ?  My kids scrambled over the cosmic brownies (a rare treat at our house), and I tried to figure out whether the brownies I’d stashed in the mailbox would be enthusiastically welcomed or passed over.

I decided on chicken cordon bleu for dinner.  I made mashed potatoes in the Instant Pot (BUY ONE!!!) and timed things wrong enough that the chicken was nearly cold by the time I had everything served up on very fancy heart-adorned paper plates.

BUT.  I had found a valentine-themed tablecloth at Walmart that had activities on it and such.  We let the kids use markers to decorate it while they waited for dinner.  It was such a hit!  We’ve had company for different meals the last couple of days and they’ve also enjoyed doodling.  I wish I’d bought ten!

I also stuffed the mailbox (which they LOVED) full of little doodads for the kids.  We opened it after dinner and the kids were thrilled with playdough, stickers, brownies (yay!), and also the heart-shaped straws I’d forgotten we should’ve had for dinner.  Ha ha!  There was also a package from Mumsie and Pops that had valentines for each of the kids, a couple of my favorite children’s books, and a big bag of M&Ms (you should have kids so Mumsie will send you chocolate!).  I also included notes to each of the kids and told them things I love about them.  I’d meant to have one written for Gordon, but was going to spend a little more time on his note and ended up forgetting until you sent me your letter!

I loved your card!  You’re not a sister who can’t.  Good gravy.  That’s so cute!

I also loved the one at the end of your letter.  I did print it out and wrote quite the letter inside.  It was getting a little flowery and mushy as I basically told Gordon he’s my everything, so I also told him that the sun shines out of his bellybutton.  If you need me for poetic wordings, I’m your girl!

Valentine’s Day was, despite my craft and cooking fails, such a fun time.  The family evening prayer and the next morning prayer with the boys were both filled with expressions of gratitude for such a fun day.  My expectations often get in the way of enjoying things as they are and for what they are.  When I look back, it’s with a smile.  I need to do more of that in the moment.

I closed up Gordon’s letter with a quote, but I feel the same for my family, my life.

“And I’d choose you;
in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality,
I’d find you and I’d choose you.”

– Kiersten White, The Chaos of Stars

Love,

Grace

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