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A Valentine to My Kids 

click to enlarge Alison with son Theo and daughter Mira
  • Alison with son Theo and daughter Mira

In honor of February's most notable holiday — no, not Groundhog Day, silly — I decided to think about what I love most about being a parent. After going through the mental highlight reel I've amassed from my 12 years and nine months of being a mom, my mind settled on a strange thought.

When I was in seventh grade, I bombed home economics. (Bear with me; I promise I'll get to my point.) I had no problem when it came to writing an essay on the themes in The Call of the Wild or solving an algebra equation, but my butter fingers just couldn't skillfully wield a needle and thread. Our big end-of-year sewing project was to stitch up a stuffed animal of our choosing. Sounds like no big deal, right? Well, I was apparently not up to the task. I remember my home ec teacher calling me at home as the end of the grading period approached and telling me, point-blank, that I would fail the course if I did not complete my stuffed animal. "Thanks for letting me know," I told her perfunctorily, before hanging up. Normally a diligent student, I just couldn't muster the resolve or skill to complete the stuffed animal. And, because of that, I failed the class.

Fast-forward 29 years. Home ec has gone the way of the dinosaur in most schools. I am now a parent. I have a daughter. That daughter loves to sew. She has made tote bags and A-line skirts in sewing classes. She has mended my clothing. She has created stylish outfits in fashion design camp. For Christmas this year, she received a sewing machine, and she has already whipped up beautiful pillows for every member of our family. She can sew circles around me.

And here is where I get to the part inspired by Valentine's Day. In spite of the fact that I had a large role in making my children, they are so much better than me, in so many ways. They started out as little, mushy creatures who relied on me for everything, but now they have skills and passions and traits that I have never had, and never will. I marvel at what they are capable of, big and small, every day. And that's what I love most about being a parent.

Though you won't find articles about DIY Valentine's Day cards or recipes for chocolate treats in our February issue (check our online archives for that content), we do celebrate the seemingly small ways parents show their love for their children, from enjoying outdoor excursions together ("Destination Recreation") to sharing stories over a steaming mug of herbal tea ("The Art of Tisanes") to packing school lunches. So. Many. Lunches. ("Growing Up Green").

Read about how three longtime friends are spreading love and kindness through the sole Vermont chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, an organization that builds and delivers beds to families in need. And check out our new "Pop Culture" column, where Dad Guild founder Keegan Albaugh writes about how to navigate relationship challenges after having kids. We're happy to welcome Keegan to Kids VT as a monthly contributor.

The arrival of our February issue also means we're at the halfway point of winter. My hearty congratulations on making it this far. Here's wishing you lots of snuggles and cozy time with the ones you love for the remainder of the season.

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