Tuesday, February 9, 2016

An Unconventional Valentine

It was what you might call an unconventional valentine. Early and unexpected. The best kind.

It didn’t come with doilies, construction paper, glue or conversation hearts.

There were no chocolates or stuffed animals.

It was delivered to me over a table full of Mexican food as we crammed in dinner between parent teacher conferences and basketball practice.
Artwork by Julie Chen: Get your print here

As it often does, our dinner conversation turned sour, and we landed on the subject of halitosis--bad breath. 

I’m not sure if it was the garlic or the refried beans that brought the topic to the fore, but in any case, the boys began to discuss the perils and hilarity of bad breath—their own and that of others.

They mocked each other about morning breath and other unpleasantries.

And though I was laughing a little inside, I bemoaned the fact that our conversations rarely cover topics that matter, and so frequently digresses into the realm of gross.

Maybe it’s just boys.

Maybe I haven’t been diligent about redirecting or disciplining this kind of dinner conversation.
Maybe both.

In any case, it was the most unlikely time or place to receive a valentine.

But I did.

As the laughter died down about decaying teeth and horrible breath, one of the boys looked at me and said, “Mom, thanks for making us brush our teeth.”

I almost choked on my chips.

I wanted to laugh, cry and shout “Ol

It may not seem like a big deal. Certainly a different kind of valentine.

And though he would deny it to the death, I’m choosing to believe it was an adolescent-boy's way to say “I love you.”

And I will take that over chocolates any day.


  1. Replies
    1. Not the thing I thought they'd be thanking me for, but I'll take it :)

  2. Love those moments when children appreciate the discipline!

    1. yep. Though it seems they are few and far between! :)

  3. It's the little moments that are so big!!

    1. So true. And it is the little moments that make up the big ones. :)

  4. I thought this was headed in the direction of "but then I realized my boys love each other and laugh together, and we share family meal memories that will last." So there's also that. My boy is still tiny (not yet two) but already has some funny ways of showing his love. We learn to accept whatever form it takes, huh? :)

    1. Hmmm...stay tuned for that post a few years down the road, I HOPE! :) We just kind of learn to take it as it comes, don't we :)

  5. Love it! and wish my big boys would show me some love! The grandkids are good at it.

    1. I just sat by someone at a basketball game this week who was whooping and hollering for his grandson. He looked at me and said, "Grandkids are awesome." Made me smile. You've got some pretty lucky grandkids!!