Today was THE BEST VALENTINE'S DAY EVER!!
To begin the day of love, I made heart shaped pancakes coloured a festive colour of pink with red food colouring.
Check out this amount of Valentine's day fun all packed in to one little package of love
For several days, I had been planning to take Taiger ice skating today. I used to ice skate six days a week. I took lessons, I was a coach, AND I spent every second of free time on the ice just skating. It kind of was my life for several years. The ice rink was one of my favourite places in the world because of the joy and freedom I felt while skating. I often would just stick around the ice rink between open skate times just to BE there, in that place I loved, rather than going home to wait the hours until the next time the rink would be free of practicing hockey teams, or children taking lessons. Over the years I haven't skated, I have really missed it. So, knowing today we were going ice skating, I was so excited! I have been dreaming of today all week. No, literally, I kept having dreams at night about going skating today with Taiger. I was excited about being back on the ice, but I was as much, if not MORE, excited about taking Taiger there. I don't' know...something about combining two things I loved seemed like it would be Heaven on Earth! Not to mention, there is something so precious about "showing" our kids something we love. It is the feeling we get when we take them to Disneyland, or teach them how to play piano. It is so thrilling to share something we love so much with SOMEONE we love so much.
Anyway, going skating with Taiger today was ten BILLION times better than I EVER could have dreamed. It really WAS Heaven on Earth! Only even BETTER! Really!
Taiger was all for it, a hundred percent. As soon as his skates were on, he was walking around the locker area. I was so excited! I had been worried he would have fun, but might not really ENJOY it, you know? As soon as those skates were on, he was in love. He transformed into a new kid! When we got out on the ice, it was a rough start. He couldn't stay up and couldn't keep his feet under him! I coached kids long enough to know where to start and how to help and what NOT to do (hold their hands!!). However, Mommy-Guilt had to rear its ugly head, and for a while, I wondered what I had done. "You are so selfish! You can't make him love something just because YOU love it! He is going to feel sad if he 'can't do it'. This is going to be a horrible two hours for him and he is going to hate it and be so sad you brought him here! You are the worst Mom! What have you done?!" Yep, that was my internal dialogue. However, there was something that stopped that crap-talk right in its tracks. Something that made me NOT believe I was a bad Mom, OR that he was hating it. Taiger. Loved. Skating! When he would fall, he would laugh and get right back up. He thrilled when he stayed on his feet. And after only a few minutes, he was skating like an old pro! He didn't want to get off the ice to get warmed up. He loved skating and he wanted to stay on the ice every second possible. We practiced some techniques for a while, but Taiger was too ambitious with it to stay practicing trivial things while going back and forth on the ice. He wanted to go around the rink! So off we went. Usually, when kids start skating, we spend most of the time on our hineys (how do you even spell that? My spellcheck has no clue what I am trying to say! HA!). It takes several lessons before they can march on the ice. It isn't until a LONG time into lessons (sometimes the second session of lessons even!) that they start gliding. Taiger, on the other hand, started gliding today. March, march, march, march gliiiiiiiide. March, march, march, march, gliiiiiiiide. Around the rink we went. There was a teenage girl there practicing. Taiger watched her. The whole time we were there he was aware of her. What she was doing. How she was skating. When she went backwards, he turned himself around and started skating backwards. Just like that. When I did a "Rocking horse" move, he bent his little knees and went for it. (Rocking Horses aren't learned until at least Basic 2...three levels from beginning! Backwards skating isn't learned until long after that.) I was amazed. He was fearless. He was brave. He was talented. Most important? He loved it.
When it was time to leave, he asked if he got to keep his skates. When I said no, he came close to tears. When we got off the ice to leave, he begged to wait and skate again later. (There were no more public skate times today, darn it!) When we got in the car, he begged to return tomorrow. And the rest of the afternoon, he talked about the new skates he wants.
I had charged my phone last night so I could take pictures and videos of us skating today. However, about three minutes after getting on the ice, it died. I think the cold air killed the battery. So, I only got one picture of the day, right after we got on the ice.
Taiger spent a considerable amount of time today worrying about Cupid and his arrows that make people fall in love. Taiger doesn't like "lovey, dovey" things. That is all "GIRL STUFF". The five months we spent in China were laden with a Chinese friend of ours tormenting Taiger RELENTLESSLY about a friend he has who is a girl, and that she is (even though she is NOT) his girlfriend. Really, this lady did go way overboard, to the point of being inappropriate at times. Anyway, the experience of the relentless teasing is what it is, and now Taiger hates all things romantic. At our house, Cupid leaves little treats on Valentine's Day. (When I was little, we always got a book. What can I say? My parents were perfect. I loved to read, and looked forward each year to my new book. Well, I am less on the ball with things, and Cupid brought some lovely items that looked a lot like the things Target had last week in their dollar section.) So, tonight, Cupid came to Taiger. Now, tradition has it that at night, just before bedtime, there is a knock at the door and by the time someone gets to the door to answer it, the naked little baby has flown away, but has left behind some goodies for children who have been good. Tonight, when there was a rapping at the door, Taiger said, "I am NOT getting it! I KNOW it is Cupid! And I DON'T want to get shot!" So, as Taiger hid to the side of the door, his body flat against the wall so Cupid could not see him, nor get a good aim at him with those arrows, _I_ answered the door. Here is the aftermath of what I found:
Tonight, we listened to a bunch of our favourite "love"-type songs. Each one has a story and represents a different kind of love.
This one is a song that used to play at KFC in China. It states that as everything is falling apart and life is falling in disaster, "I run to you". I would sit in KFC with our world turned upside down, sometimes from inexplicable joy, but sometimes from chaos, heartache, confusion, typhoons, etc. I would hear this song, and even though I knew it was supposed to be a romantic type song, I would look at the little boy playing in the playground and I knew exactally who I run to when things are falling apart. Not that I expect my little boy to "fix it" or to "take care of me"!!!!!! But rather because when I have him at my side, everything is "right". Things may still be hard, but they are good. Taiger is my buddy, the one who is always there with me, the constant at my side, my partner in crime and my giggling companion in the happiest of times. When things are great and fun, we hold hands, and when things are hard we hold hands, too. His little hand is the one I want to hold no matter what is happening. And, like the song says, when things start falling apart, I run to him. I want to hold his hand. To keep HIM safe, and to always have him at my side.
Song: I Run To You by Lady Antebellum
This song is one that really means a lot to Taiger and me. It says, "Home is wherever I'm with you." Taiger and I have travelled some, and been without our own home some, but no matter where in the world we are, when we are together, we are HOME. We have talked about that. And it is something that is very important to Taiger. The other day, I was leaving to go to Utah for a few days and as he hugged me good bye with tears welling up in his eyes, he told me, "It just won't be home without you here." Broke my heart. He started whistling this song. Well, tonight he sat by me and wanted to listen to it with me.Song: Home by Edward Sharp and The Magnetic Zeros
Finally, we listened to this song. We love it because it reminds us of how much God and Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost love us. It is special to us. On Valentine's Day we try and remember not only the love of those around us here on Earth, but of the eternal and incredible love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Song: Holy Holy Holy by Sufjan Stevens
Now, I admit, there is one other song on my Valentine playlist. Shhhhh. Don't tell Taiger! This last one is for me to listen to without him knowing why. I listen to this song because I want to believe there will be some day when I won't be single anymore, and Taiger and me and this other person will spend Valentine's Day together. I know, I know...I totally fall for the corney side of the day, and worse still for the mumbo-jumbo the card companies and chocolate companies have brainwashed us with, trying to make us believe today is some dorky day about boys and girls and romance. Blah. Oh well. I can't help it. I am a girl. So...last song: Colide by Howie Day. I know, I know...please keep the teasing to a minimum. Thank you.