Yesterday, Cava was thrilled to get to give his first Valentines to the kids in his class. We got the list out, sat down at the kitchen table, and went one by one down the list of boys and girls. I had gotten him some Cars Valentines that also have tattoos to put with them, so Cava sorted the Valentines according to each kid and then chose which child got which tattoo (I figured out who were the girls he liked by which ones got a Lightning McQueen tattoo). I was proud of him because he hand wrote each name on the cards. It was cute to see him get excited when we got to each kid's name and he would point, say their name aloud, and then write it down on the Valentine.
This morning, he was very excited about going to school so he could celebrate Valentines Day and he had to check, re-check and re-check again to ensure that the Valentines were still in his backpack.
Earlier in the week, I had gotten Cava's Valentine presents from us: a Finding Nemo puzzle because he really needs some new ones (although he was very, very happy that Lauren "Mayor McAwesome," who works with his Mama sent him two Spiderman puzzles. Talk about hitting a bullseye!) and something new for him - Play-Doh! I was extremely curious to see what he will make with it. There are certain smells that I love: freshly baked bread, a springtime rain, a newly sharpened pencil, and Play-Doh when you first open the can. It is definitely one of the smells of childhood.
As soon as he got in the car when I picked him up from school, Cava was all animated and vibrantly vocal about his day. Despite not understanding the words, I got the meanings of his enthusiasm and delight with this new holiday. And then he began to sing very loudly with his arms outstretched, "I love you PAPA! I love you MAMA! I love you Benjamin! I love you CHOCOLATE!" (Hey, I wouldn't dispute him on any of those declarations myself).
Once we got to Benjamin's school, Cava was out of his booster seat, climbed into the front passenger's seat, got on the floor and dumped out the bags containing his Valentines goodies.
Each item that he picked up he had to show me, telling me each time "See, Papa." Our friend Yulia told us that the word Cava uses for "see" is the one somebody would use to point out a miracle. So each new thing for Cava is like a miracle and it fills him with joy. That is definitely a trait I need to pick up from him. Perhaps he, like Rabbi Abraham Heschel will say, "Never once in my life did I ask God for success or wisdom or power or fame. I asked for wonder, and He gave it to me. Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge."
Of course he was the most excited about getting a Ring Pop and he had me open that immediately.
All of this sense of joyous wonder was repeated when Benjamin got in the car and Cava had to show him everything. Benjamin's response was, "I wish I got Valentines Day at school."
When we got home, I gave Cava his Valentines presents from Mama and Papa. Just seeing the Spongebob bag, he began to shout, "Spaseeba Papa! Spaseeba!" Tossing out the paper, he was delighted to find Play-Doh and a puzzle. First, he had me open the Play-Doh for him and, like every child, he took a deep whiff.
Told you, one of the many wonderful scents of childhood!
He played with the Play-Doh a little but didn't quite get the point of it just yet (We'll work on that one). And so his attention turned to his new puzzle.
Before I knew it, Cava was calling for me to come and "see." He is so proud of his accomplishments each time he finishes a puzzle. I love seeing that smile.
Along with those small presents, I gave Cava this Masha on-line Valentine and it made him smile even bigger. It spoke directly to how I feel about him:
I am so thankful to God that our family did.