Tuesday, February 19, 2013

An Extraordinary Heart Attack

I know we're a few days after the fact. But this story warrants sharing.

They waited until the middle of the night. Madeleine set her alarm clock and at one thirty am she crept into Kate's room and shook her awake. It's time, she whispered.

By the light of the moon my girls hunkered down on my bedroom floor, pouring over their project, occasionally stealing glances over their shoulder in the direction of Jeremy's snores. While I had been cooking dinner hours before, they had taken paper and scissors upstairs and worked quickly, cutting out crooked hearts and then using crayons to transform them into love notes.

I love u because u drive us
I love u because u earn the money
I love u because u only grow a mustache in May
I love u because u grew me in your "stomace"
I love u because u got married and made us into a family
I love u because u r "loyol"

At one point Jeremy sat up and the girls hit the deck. He squinted into the darkness, listening. Mads, is that you? What are you doing? It's the middle of the night. He didn't see Kate, who had crawled on her belly behind our chair.

Go back to sleep Dad, Madeleine said soothingly. Everything is fine. 

What do you mean 'go back to sleep.' You can't get up in the middle of the night like this. What are you DOING? 

Okay, fine, she snapped. We are doing a surprise for you, okay. Now GO back to sleep Dad!

Evidently satisfied, Jeremy flopped back and resumed snoring. I vaguely remember hearing this conversation, but my motto goes something along the lines of If it's not the baby crying and your hair isn't on fire, you can tell me about it when the sun is up.

I opened my eyes in the morning and tried to reconstruct the pieces of this conversation. Had the girls really sneaked into our room in the middle of the night?  I sat up. On the bedroom wall in front of me, taped to the mirror, was a rainbow of heart-shaped love notes.

Thank u for cooking us food. 
Thank u for being nice to us.
U R so pretty!

It was the most surprising, extraordinary kind of heart attack I've ever witnessed. I can't believe two little girls managed to wake themselves up in the middle of the night. I can't believe that such plain, straight forward notes could feel so loving. Have they ever before thanked me for driving them around and cooking for them? That's probably a big no, but that's no longer the case. They said thank you for all the things that matter, in a way that helped me know they meant it.
I love you because you "help" us
Truly, the best Valentine I've ever received!


  1. That is one of the best Valentines stories I have ever heard. So sweet. You must be doing lots of things right to have such creative and thoughtful girls. I love it.

  2. What great girls you have...and it's all because they have such wonderful, loving examples in you and Jeremy. Best surprise ever!!


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