Trying to explain Valentines in the way a two-year-old could understand, I told him it was a special time when we do something nice for people we love. After I finished explaining, he asked, "We do somefing nice for Daddy?" I eagerly agreed that that was a great idea, and asked what he wanted to do for Daddy for Valentine's.
"Hmmm.... Shubbel the snow."
It had snowed almost two inches that morning, and Fabio had to hurry to an early work meeting before he could get to it. (He usually keeps our driveway perfectly cleared.)
I had by doubts about how long this Valentine's gesture would last, but we donned our gear and went outside. (J will not, under any circumstances, wear snow pants. So we bought him fleece-lined jeans to wear when he's in the snow. He also refuses "mibbens" and would rather his hands just get cold, even if he declares they are "icebergs" when he comes inside. I've yet to find a compromise for that one.)
Coats and lined jeans on, J picked up his tiny red shovel and went to work.
He worked. And worked. And worked.
Eventually realizing his little thrift-store shovel wasn't exactly getting the job done, he asked for the "bulldozer shubbel." So I pulled Fabio's shovel out of the garage and helped Jonathan guide it as he pushed the snow to the side of the driveway. Every now and then I'd ask him if he was ready to go inside to warm up, or if it was time to take a break.
His response: "No. I not done yet."
He worked until our entire driveway was clear. I didn't get a picture of the finished product, because it took him until after dark. Of course, it wasn't the cleanest clearing the driveway's ever had, but I really believe it was the most perfect--it certainly involved the hardest work and the purest motivation.
Fabio came through the door very excited and wondering who had done something so special (I called him in advance so he knew to make a big deal out of it)... to which Jonathan ran up to his dad, gave him a hug, and said softly, "Happy Bahwentimes!"
We were so touched by such a sweet and genuine gesture of love, service, and sacrifice. This year I thought I'd teach Jonathan about Valentine's Day by making cookies and coloring hearts, but then he showed me by example what a "special time when we do something nice for people we love" really could be.
Possibly the best part? It snowed two more inches that night (because we live in Wisconsin), and J was out the next morning with Fabio, shovel in hand, saying, "Daddy, I can help you!"
May everyone be so loved. Happy Bahwentimes.