This is our day to do our way

By Jane Muller

Even on days when we’re not feeling it, there is love. And even though our loved ones know they are loved, it’s reassuring to them when we express those feelings.

We’re not an “I love you” out loud kind of family. There is no “love you” at the end of a phone call or as we head out the door. Doing thoughtful things for each other, preparing food, helping with homework, sharing conversation are some of the loving ways that we connect.

This month Valentine’s Day is an occasion to deliver more concrete sentiments in the form of flowers, chocolates, cards and special meals. The day has its detractors and it’s true that the hearts presented may not be heartfelt. Give me a celebration of love and kindness any day or at least once a year and throw in some chocolate and flowers please.

This will be the 11th year that we’ve celebrated Family Day in Ontario. Before we were granted a holiday that nicely breaks up a bleak month of winter, Valentine’s Day was the only respite. Your kids will likely create something amazing at school that represents their love for you. You are likely to save these touching works of art.

Beware of the perishables though.

My oldest son’s kindergarten class made hearts out of slices of crustless white bread kneaded with white glue and red food colouring. I brought his little brother with me when I volunteered to help with this crafting experience that was guided by a first-year teacher. We all ended up with bright red hands and something that somewhat resembled a heart shape. It took several years before it developed heart disease, otherwise known as a case of mold.

When embarking on a project with your kids, consider the fun of making a craft rather than creating a treasured keepsake. Case in point, the unicorn slime for which we’ve provided a recipe in this issue. Family Day is meant to encourage us to spend time together as a family and perhaps bonding around a craft will suit your brood. There’s also a simple Valentine inspired treat in the toddler section. Preparing food together on Family Day might be to your taste.

I love that it’s a day that has no prescribed traditions, associated greeting cards, gifts or decorations. The day is supported by special events and activities but it really is a freestyle kind of occasion. Some might interpret it as a stay-in-pyjamas-until-noon day, a chance to enjoy a winter hike, a family-friendly movie or board game. Check out this month’s calendar and our list of Family Day ideas on the feature page that also digs into the Royal Ontario Museum’s newest dinosaur, the destroyer of shins.

Love your Family Day!