| February 14, 2013 | 8 Comments

I came across this quotation on Pinterest one day:

“When a child gives you a gift, even if it is rock they just picked up, exude gratitude. It might be the only thing they have to give and they have chosen to give it to you.” – Dean Jackson

The thing about Valentine’s Day is the need for the big gesture. It is THE day to show someone how much you care about them. It is a day that my husband and I opted out of early on in our relationship. Sure, I spouted all the reasons my 20 year-old self needed to believe (it’s just a corporate holiday built out of our consumerist society to make more money for the ‘big men’) and nodded along righteously as my then boyfriend expounded upon more of the same. But I think the truth of it is that we had only started dating two weeks prior to our first Valentine’s and it was just way too much pressure.


Enter motherhood and my transition to the stay-at-home club. I still do not need the grand gesture … I just want to get the heck out of my house for a night! But I digress. This is not a post about Valentine’s Day, I really want to talk about is what I think love is … and the grand gesture falls very low on my scale.

A few months ago, my older son gave me a pebble. Now, he is always picking things up “Just for you, Mama”, and I accept the, stick, mutilated dandelion, pinecone, graciously but these items are soon discarded or repurposed (a pinecone and peanut butter bird feeder, for example). Add to this the idea that we are teaching him not to take from nature in protected places as we spend a lot of time camping and hiking in the warmer months. So, when he handed me this pebble off of a neighbour’s walkway, my first instinct was to tell him to put it back, “That’s nice, sweetie, but that rock doesn’t belong to us. See? It is a decorative stone that our neighbour paid for. They bought all of these stones to make their garden look pretty. If everyone took one of their stones, soon they would be all gone.”

He pondered this logic for a moment but decided that his own was infallible, “I know, Mommy, but it just makes me think of you.” And then he unleashed the big guns. He looked up at me with his perfect little face and on it was the look, the shining look.

You may think that you are not familiar with the shining look but I bet that you are. This was the look on my husband’s face when he saw me on the balcony before I walked down to meet him on our wedding day. It was the look he gave me for weeks after the birth of each of our sons. It is the look he gives me in the morning when I occasionally get up first and make his lunch for work. Above all things, I covet this look.


We all show and accept love in a myriad of ways. I take care of my health both because I love myself and because I love my family. I took a hard look at where I was a year after the birth of my second son and realized that my children deserved better than an overweight, depressed, exhausted mom who was in constant, daily pain. So I gave them the shining look and made major change. Not just for myself, but for them. The way I care of myself and my family is the greatest way that I know how to show my love. I shower them with it in every loaf of paleo bread, load of laundry, and aerobic dance session in the kitchen. My youngest son bestows the shining look whenever he begs me to sing the chorus of Hey, Ho just one more time while I am changing his diaper. Probably a reflection of the look he sees on my own face when I sing that song. And my oldest son was giving it to me that day with the pebble. To me, it is the purest love and means more than any grand gesture could ever hope to mean without it. Without it, the gesture is empty. So assigning love to one special day, to me, seems impossible. Love is every day, in so many little ways and in a sweet, shining face.

There is still a pebble in the pocket of my spring jacket.


This is love

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Category: Family

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Comments (8)

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  1. Melodie says:

    I love reading your blog! Another good one…

  2. Tammy says:

    LOVE it….yes punn intended….lol

  3. Sheri says:

    Wow, great job, Missy!! Your mom told me I needed to read this excerpt of your blog!! How beautiful.. “LOVE” it. So true .. Thanks for that.. Just you wait and see the glow in your mom’s eyes when she sees you and KNOW, that the greatest gift of all is just that, plain, simple Love!! Say hi to my little birthday buddy for me!!

  4. kathy downey says:

    Awe I just love reading every article you post

  5. kathy downey says:

    Honestly your posts sometimes tugs on my heart

  6. kathy downey says:

    We spent our morning with the grandkids looking in the scrapbook their Dad had and it was so much fun to see the things he made in Kindergarten.

  7. kathy downey says:

    The grandkids and i are going to start scrapboks with them this winter

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