troyandmichele_2010I received the best Valentine’s Day gift yesterday. But before I tell you about it, there’s something else you need to know.

February 14th is my youngest son’s birthday (He would remind me that HE is the best Valentine’s Day gift ever). That means for the past thirteen years Valentine’s Day has included a house full of boys, toys, cake-baking, party-making and all sorts of general chaos. I’m not complaining. All I’m saying is romantic nights, lingerie and boxes of chocolates aren’t often a part of the Valentine’s Day equation.

This weekend was no exception. Friday night my house filled with the sounds of four teenage boys unleashing all their pubescent energy via an all out Nerf war. The volume cranked to “ear-drum-splitting,” and orange darts zinged as I put the finishing touches on a chocolate cake. At one point I braved the stairs to grab something from my office only to hear one boy yell “Incoming! Don’t shoot The Mom!”

The Mom. Like The Refrigerator. Or The Toilet. I’m the maker of food and cleaner-upper of messes. I couldn’t help but laugh.

The weekend of festivities continued through Saturday and wrapped up with dinner and movie last night, the birthday boy’s choice. After both, we pulled into the driveway around 8:30 and I carried my beyond-exhausted body into the house, making a beeline for PJs and slippers. I climbed the stairs and pulled out both. Before I could change, however, Troy called from the kitchen: “Michele, can you come here a sec?”

Weary, I stumbled back down the stairs to the kitchen where all three boys and my husband waited for me. What did they need now? I pulled up a stool and waited for someone to give me a clue.

But I couldn’t have guessed what was to come.

For the next fifteen minutes Troy spoke to my children about ME. What kind of person I am, the things that I do, how much I love each of them, how our family is different because of my presence in it. He handed me a letter–three pages hand written!–and then called on each one of the boys to share the one thing they most appreciate about me.

I won’t share those details; they’re too precious to publicize. Besides, I’d start boo-hooing again.

Some say talk is cheap. And it is, but not the way the cliche implies. It doesn’t cost a thing other than intentionality and a little bit of thought. But it can renew a weary heart. More than roses or chocolates or ANY OTHER STORE-BOUGHT gift, this year’s Valentine’s gift will forever stand far above the others.

Why? Because this free, homemade gift shot like a Nerf dart, straight to The Mom’s heart.

Who needs to hear a few heart-felt words from you today?

(Thank you, Troy, Tyler, Ryan and Jake. I love you.)

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