• Hope Gibbs

Be still my heart...

I’m a big believer in family traditions. When I became a wife and mother, it was important that my new home in Tennessee had its own, blended with some of my childhood favorites from Kentucky. Over the last twenty-five years, I've been able to establish some unique ones. Annual Easter egg hunts, roasting thousands of pumpkin seeds, and bunny cakes. Each has become pivotal to our family and celebrations.

Today, I want to share a silly tradition I stumbled across during my cheerleading days. It all started with a poster board taped to the side of a concrete gymnasium wall, full of candy used as adjectives and nouns. Little did I know it would lead to something noteworthy, impactful, and most importantly, beloved. It’s silly and cheesy, but in this house, Valentine’s Day stories must be presented to each of my children, whose ages range from eighteen to twenty-four. If not, I fear a mutiny would be on my hands! All it takes is a pack of Sharpies, double-sided tape, a poster board, a basket full of candy, and a little creativity. Here are two examples:



Hope Gibbs Valentine's Day Tradition

Ansley,

HEY GIRL! What an EXTRA special young lady you are! My greatest PAYDAY was when you came into my life. Not only are you a CUTIE PIE, but your 100 GRAND smile sends my heart into ORBIT. You’re sweet but can also pack a serious PUNCH when you SKOR in soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. I love you!!! XOXOXO, Mom



Hope Gibbs Valentine's Day Tradition

Willie T. (my CHUNKY monkey)

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! What an incredible young man you are! Not only are you a CUTIE PIE, but you are also so talented. You’re a guitar STAR! Your love of music is PUR, and I so enjoy listening to you rock out upstairs, though Harley sometimes needs to TAKE FIVE. UR GR8! XOXOXO, Mom




Because my children are so competitive, each year, they first count to see how many "goodies" are on their boards. After they confirm that equal amounts have been distributed, they judge who has received the best treats, and tease me for hours that one is better than the other. But this is all part of the fun. Part of the tradition. Making fun of mom. Next will come hugs and secret kisses. But most importantly, appreciation. It’s such a part of our family’s DNA that my children have attempted to make their own boards for me. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.


My youngest two will be graduating in May, so my nest will be empty soon. Next February, all five of my babies will be living in five different locations for the first time. But I guarantee that their Valentine’s boards will be made and waiting for them when they come back home. Isn’t that what tradition is for in the first place? To bring you together?


Extra gum, Milky Way, Kind Bars, PayDay, Mounds, Almond Joy, Punch, Orbit, Symphony, Eclipse, Ice, Three Musketeers, Skor, Punch, 100 Grand are the best candies you can never go wrong with. These will help you create the perfect story.


What are your favorite family traditions? Tell me in the comment section below.

Until next time…