Valentines for Friends
Dean was a third grader. Dean didn’t catch on to his school lessons quite as quickly as most of his classmates; he could master the material, but he often took twice as long as everybody else. In sports, he found it challenging to keep up. As a result, he was always picked last in any team selection. In short, Dean was the kind of child that had a very special spot in his mother’s heart. Her heart was saddened when one day Dean came home and announced that his school was going to have a Valentine’s Day party. Most seriously, Dean, said he was going to make a special Valentine’s card for every one of his classmates.
Mother agonized. She wished Dean wouldn’t get so excited about his projects. She wanted to protect him from getting hurt. She had watched how her boy was treated by these friends for whom he now wanted to prepare a special card. She had seen how he was never in the group when they got off the school bus. She had seen him sitting on the sidelines during recess. The children weren’t cruel, they just didn’t know that her boy was there. That’s what her mother’s heart said on the inside. On the outside her mother’s voice commended Dean for his most excellent idea. That’s why the very next day she went out and picked up the needed art supplies. Every evening for the next two weeks she set aside time in the evening to help her boy with the paper, the glue, the crayons, the glitter, the ribbons and the candy for the special Valentine’s Day cards. When Valentine’s Day finally came, Dean was beside himself with excitement. Before breakfast he counted the valentines. He stacked the valentines; he sorted the valentines; he carried the valentines around. He left for the bus and then came back, just to make sure he hadn’t left any of his valentines behind.
Fearing the worst, that afternoon Dean’s mom made him a special snack. She whipped up a batch of chocolate-chip-peanut butter cookies for her boy. She wanted to do something, anything, for the obvious disappointment that she knew was going to come. Her heart ached to think that maybe Dean wouldn’t, after all his work for others, get many valentines from his fellow students. She wanted to cry when she thought, "maybe he will get none at all." Everything was ready when Dean finally burst through the door. She looked closely. There was a big smile on his face, but that, she knew, was nothing more than a brave front he was putting on for her benefit.
She took his book bag, escorted him into the kitchen and announced, “I’ve got your favorite cookies ready. Sit down and tell me how the Valentine’s party went.” Sitting at the table, he gave a big sigh. So did her heart. The first words he said were, “Not one. Not a single one." She cleared her throat to say some motherly thing like, “Honey, you’re my valentine. I love you.” She knew it wouldn’t be enough, but it was all she could do. Then Dean continued, "I didn't forget one of my classmates. I didn’t forget a single one.” It was hard to believe. Her boy wasn’t worried about the valentines people did or did not give to him. He was happy because he had shown his love to every one of his friends.
* I apologize for not knowing who wrote this precious story. When I find out, I will give the author due credit, I promise.
Bright Valentine's Day Blessings and Love,