Yesterday morning, Noah’s Sunday school teachers had the class each make a valentine for one member of the church. They could choose anyone they wanted, and could draw or write anything they wanted. When I picked him up before the service, he was holding his valentine in his hand, hiding it from my view. I asked what it was, and he shyly held it up for me to see. It said “I love you Ms. Anne.”
“Ms. Anne” is an older woman who sits in the pew behind us every week. She and her husband are two of the nicest, most generous and loving people I know. Each Sunday Noah carefully selects two toy cars to bring with him to church specifically so that he can show them to Ms. Anne. She never fails to show the proper amount of excitement and wonder at his choices. She had little boys once, and fondly remembers their Matchbox cars littering her living room.
Noah skittered on ahead of me as we made our way to the sanctuary, snaking in and out of slower walkers to get to Ms. Anne. She was there in her usual spot, and before he could present his valentine to her, she handed him a little gift: a box of crayons with a picture of a dog on the front. Noah was excited about the crayons and forgot briefly about the card, but then after opening and inspecting the colors, he handed over his picture with a bashful smile. Ms. Anne took one look at it and clutched it to her chest. “Oh, Noah. How special. I love it. I love it!” She sent me a look that seemed to say, “This has made my day.” I nodded back to let her know that it had made mine, too.
The pastor stepped up to the pulpit and welcomed everyone to worship, and we all settled back into our rows, one in front of the other. Noah took out a blue crayon and began to draw. The organist began the introit a few minutes later, and Ms. Anne leaned forward to Noah once more and whispered in his ear, “Thank you again for my valentine, Noah.” Noah perked up, swiveled around and replied, “Thank you for my crayons!” Then he turned back to his paper and continued to color.
This is the kind of thing that makes me indescribably proud that he is my kid. Happy Valentine’s Day to Ms. Anne, to Noah, to me and to you.