Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Real Barn Burner

Don't get me wrong: I hate seeing retailers stocking the shelves for Christmas before I've even enjoyed my 4th of July BBQ.

The speed at which holidays seem to blaze through gets faster and faster every year . . . but . . . Valentine's Day . . . it is MY FAVORITE!

We just celebrated Christmas, but for whatever reason, I am all over Valentine's 2016! It started yesterday as I was perusing a catalog that was very reminiscent of Current (is that still around?) Anywho, it seemed that every page had something to offer in the way of X's and O's, not to mention Easter and St. Patrick's Day. Those three always seem to be a bundled package. It got me thinking about my mom, which I do every day since her passing ten years ago, but more so than usual as I thumbed those pages. You see, my mom was that mom who decorated for every single holiday (including the lawn on my parents' anniversary). I'm pretty sure she coined the phrase "craft room," well before HGTV started cashing in . . . heck, before they were even a household name! Such was the place so much was housed and created, but I digress . . . .

I have fond memories of little wooden figurines and perpetual holiday decor all year long. These are the kinds of memories that wrap you up like a warm blanket. My mom was awesome. Our home was always a home. For whatever reason, I never did this beyond fall decor and Christmas decorations in my own home--until today.

Just last week, I was still plugging in my Christmas tree every night and enjoying the glow. Re-enter the Current-like magazine. Most of our Christmas decorations are red and white, sooooo, with a little adjusting (and 10 to 12 business days for delivery on certain items), I decided to embrace Mom's enthusiasm and holiday homemaker sense of style (minus the 80's touch) and turn our home into a love shack--complete with heart-themed tree!

The surge of desire for such a plan is really twofold: the first, obviously came from my mom, and the second came from an old tradition in my family surrounding Valentine's Day. You see, we celebrate pretty big: aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. The story goes (round and round the table every year) that when my father and his siblings were children, they put all of their just-received Christmas gifts (which weren't many but did include a go cart for the four of them to share) in "the barn." It is still a matter of debate as to whom, but someone burned down the barn, gifts and all! Fast forward through the "way they each remember it" to my grandmother. Not having money to replace any of their gifts at the time, she managed to save enough money to get them each a little something special by the middle of February, and so began the first Valentine's Day Breakfast Celebration. She carefully wrapped these small tokens and placed them at their seats during the special "breakfast for supper." It wasn't about recreating Christmas, but bringing a bit of joy to her children during the winter months following this childhood heartbreak.

Every year since then, for nearly 50 years, our family has continued this celebratory event. To our family, the celebration is all about our love for one another--because we all know that so much more could have been lost in that fire. As an extended group, we share breakfast for dinner on the closest Saturday. We even exchange small gifts! Last year, I was so stoked to find ceramic BARNS--and just enough for each aunt, uncle, and my dad! LOL! I couldn't help myself! Each individual family has clung so tightly to the tradition that we each have a special breakfast ON the14th--no matter the day--which means some very early school mornings some years! But nevertheless, it is complete with fun plates (mine are passed down from my mom - shell shaped china plates that we only used for that day), fun cheapy decorations, and of course little gifts for everyone from mom.

Now don't get me wrong: I certainly don't advocate the ridiculousness at which so many have become accustomed the celebrating non-events and gifts for simply breathing. This is a long-standing family tradition, one that started well before every person became a trophy-holding "winner."

I love this holiday for so many reasons. I love the doilies, the HOMEMADE cards, recollections of

Valentine boxes created by my kindergartners from years gone by, and being extra girlie dressed in pink. But nothing compares to the love shared and passed down by these two mothers. These images are forever ingrained and, as a mother, I pray my children, too, will cherish the value of tradition born from a mother's love for her family; the gift of warmth wrapped in sweet memories that they can hold long after I'm gone.

PS - My hubby is totally loving the festive atmosphere. He got a little giddy as I was decorating and asked, "So does this mean 12 days of Valentine's gifts?!?!" (See our November 17th blog.)

No, my love . . . don't get crazy.



1 comment:

  1. I remember always feeling so "at home" in your home. Your mom was the best & always made everything so fun!