Tammy Bennett - Christian Parenting & Co-Parenting | Nashville Christian Family Magazine

As I investigated the origination of Valentine’s Day, I found various stories that have different explanations of where the day came from and what it used to stand for. As a single parent, celebrating LOVE is a 365-day commitment. I encourage any single parent reading this to focus on the blessings of your children, the unique and wonderful characteristics of who they are. Maybe your children are little, and they still snuggle and like to have books read to them at night. Maybe your kids are teenagers and sometimes are difficult to understand. Wherever you are in your single parent journey, my hope is you will enjoy the moments and not let them pass by.

I have a daughter who is now 22 and it literally seems like a few months ago she was in the middle of being little. We used to paint together, read books and on occasion we would go outside in the rain and puddle stomp. Some of those days it seemed like we had “forever” until she would be grown and gone. I was working full-time, going to grad school, and then seeing clients at the counseling center – it was a very big load for me as a single mom. Physically I was exhausted but I always tried to make the most of mealtime or holidays, even when financially there was not much extra.  For dinner I would sometimes light a candle and put on music like it was a fancy meal, even though what was on the plate was often very simple and put together quickly. Cooking was never my strong suit. However, looking back I believe the effort of slowing down and being together and talking about our day (at school and work) was a blessing to us both. I didn’t want her to grow up in front of a TV during mealtime or only remember the drive thru. I sincerely wanted to make our mealtimes relaxing and purposeful.

For Valentine’s Day I encourage single parents to make a fun day of it for your children. Take them out on a parent/child date – go see a movie together or visit an art gallery. Maybe consider having breakfast for dinner and make chocolate chip heart-shaped pancakes? Small, intentional details to a day can feel significant to a child. Memories don’t have to be expensive, the moments can be meaningful and memorable for years to come, no matter how much money is spent. And as you walk through this year, here are a few “gifts” to intentionally give your children 365 days of the year: L (laughter), O (openness), V (validation) and E (encouragement). May L.O.V.E. be present every day!

Tammy Daughtry, author of “Co-parenting Works! Helping Your Children Thrive after Divorce” resides in Nashville, TN. See CoParentingInternational.com for more information.

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