This post is a Hallmark sponsored post. I am being paid by Hallmark to write it, but all writing, ideas and opinions are mine. Thankfully, Hallmark and I share the same idea–that little moments are to be celebrated and that good people, good efforts and good intentions deserve a spotlight. See Hallmark Life is a Special Occasion for more details, like them on Facebook, and/or sign up for their e-mail messages HERE.
We have this thing, Heidi and I. It’s a silly but needful ritual, and we both do it whenever we fly—a last minute phone call right before we take off, and it goes a little something like this:
“Plane leaves in five minutes, you know the drill, right?” I say.
Heidi reassures me. “Yes, yes, I know. You’ll be fine, you’ll have a safe flight, but if something happens, I have to run over to your house and clean it before any grievers show up. I know, I know.”
“And my kids?” I continue.
“Your kids are my kids,” she says. “They will forever be happy, and I will make sure of it. They will know how much you love them. You don’t ever have to worry about that. Now go order a Bloody Mary and read the Sky Mall catalogue. Call me when you land,” she’ll finish.
Your kids are my kids. It’s part of the village pact, an exaggerated statement perhaps because no one loves a baby like her own mama, but what an endearing phrase for a friend to hear. To know our most important job and our love for our most cherished gift in life—our kids—is shared with our friends and family.
As part of a group of contributing writers for Hallmark, we are often given helpful prompts and ideas for monthly themes. Many of these focus on the importance of correspondence—writing our friends and family and expressing our appreciation for what they bring to our lives (Have you seen the Tell Me commercial? Gets me every time).
These prompts are such good reminders, and considering the important role our friends and family assume by supporting us in loving our children, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to make note of some of the most meaningful gestures our friends and family do—things they might not even notice—that make us stop and smile and thank our lucky stars that we’re doing this together. Mi casa su casa. Your kids are my kids.
Friends and Family,
You might not know how very much it means to us when you chase our kids down for hugs before you leave our house, but we notice.
How you create special nicknames for our girls—and they know these names are just between you and them. Like High Five for Lainey. Or Nelson Cornelius.
We love how when you play with our girls, you get right down on the floor with them even though your back will hurt the next day. You let them climb on your head and you pretend that picking shoes out for Polly Pocket is the most fun you’ve ever had.
Don’t think we didn’t notice when we came over your house that Nella’s birth announcement is still taped to your fridge next to that crayon drawing Lainey made you—the one with stick figures that says PGIPBBUKL. We think it means “I love you.”
When you come over for dinner, you probably don’t know that we talk about you when you leave. We noticed how you turned down a comfy seat at the adult table in exchange for squeezing in a pint size chair at the kid table. We saw your legs were turned all cock-eyed and your knees hit the edge, but we also saw how radiant Lainey’s smile beamed because you chose to share your dinner with her. You didn’t have to eat the macaroni, but you did.
We love the way you pick our kids up and squeeze them—how you’ve pulled them right from our own arms without even asking, since the day they were born, because you know we don’t care. You know we want them to love you and we’re thrilled to see them in your arms.
We smile when you grimace through Lainey’s hair brushing, and we love how you let her put your hair into fourteen ponytails. We think it’s even funnier when you forget to take them out.
When you ask Austyn how his classes are going, we hear you. When you come back a month later and remember that he’s interested in nutrition and you offer some connections to help him on his career path, we’re moved.
We see those notes you write for our kids on the chalkboard–even if we don’t notice them until a week after you were here.
And when we’re scared for the future or hesistant of the “what if,” truly you have no idea how loved we feel when you tell us that you will be there. That our kids will be okay. That no matter what we face in the coming years, we’re not alone.
It takes a village, and we are so glad you are a part of ours.
Because I am in love with rituals and ceremonies, my babies were welcomed to this earth with friends and family in a special beach celebration. Both girls were surrounded by their village when they were tiny and new, and I will never forget the feeling of community that encircled our family at those ceremonies. I recently found a printout of the words our friends and family said together at Nella’s celebration. Written by my dad and recited by those we love, they sum up the responsibility we all have in raising our children together:
As Nella’s family and friends, we accept our responsibility to assist her parents. As they provide Nella a loving home in which to grow, we will uphold her with our love and prayer, guide her with our counsel and example, and encourage her with our affirmation and embrace. We will be careful not to set limits for her dreams but always celebrate and applaud her every effort. Make us open to learn from Nella’s wonder while always reminding her of her worth.
We all have special things that stand out to us–little gestures our friends and family do for our kids that make us feel loved and special. What notable actions have you remembered that make you appreciate your village? Or do you do something that lets your friends and family know their kids are important? Hallmark and I would love to hear about more ways in which we can all fulfil our role in joining our friends and family to raise and love their children.
To see other Hallmark posts on this blog, click HERE.