Brielle and I have been working on this little gem for some time now - and it is my hope that we'll continue to work on it for additional months, if not years!
The two of us occasionally talk about those we love. Let's see - filling her five year old heart, there's mommy and daddy of course, accompanied by little brother, Austin, and both sets of grandparents. Beyond them, we move into cousin, pet, and friend territory. And sometimes Bree mentions him first, but other times she saves the best for last: "I love Jesus, too, you know, grandma!"
Valentine's Day just feels like the perfect time to acknowledge and honor these recipients of her affection. That's our target completion date for bringing everyone together!
We begin with a list. A year ago, it would have been me who did all of the writing. But Bree's in Kindergarten this year, and I'm amazed at the academic progress she's made; she prints well and reads with speed and accuracy!
From there we decide how we'll acquire pictures for the 6" square, kid-size portable scrapbook we're compiling. We draw up a plan. Some entries are found by the dozens (cousins!) on grandma's computer, just waiting to be sorted and printed. Other subjects need to be hunted down and photographed (grandpa!). Still others will be featured in carefully hand drawn images. Baby Jesus, for instance. Bree is serious about the place of honor he'll take in her little book of love. We take our time with this business, one person at a time, checking names off as we go.
I find a source of corny Valentine sayings and share them with my little love bug. She likes the owl theme and we decide on "Whooo I Love" as a title. Paper punches and spools of vivid ribbon emerge, and soon, we've got our cover! Coordinating inside pages take care of the rest.
We opt for round metal book rings to hold everything together because that makes it easier to add pages as a continuing stream of new people to love enters Bree's world. I think she'll enjoy having this little companion by her side - on both good days and bad - even after she's outgrown adding pages with the enthusiasm she shares today. Love of God, love of family - all reciprocated - are the heart of every day - not just that special one reserved in February!
At right: Brielle - author of "Whooo I Love!"
Photograph by Michelle Starr