PutYourHearttoPaperThis post represents a compensated editorial partnership with Hallmark. All content and opinions are mine.

For years I was on the sidelines of love. I watched the hearts of others as they collided, merged, becoming larger and newly formed. It’s a beautiful thing to see a love story unfold. For whatever reason I was terrified to live and create my own love story.

I didn’t really know the capacity of my heart until I held my son in my arms in the Spring of 2009. He had the smoothest skin, the most perfect nose, and eyes that already flashed with curiosity. Every day my love expanded beyond what I thought possible.

As I fell more and more in love with my son I also began to understand the bubble of love that had surrounded me my entire of life. Once I became a mom I looked at my own mother in such a different way. Had she felt this explosion of electricity when she rocked me? Had she looked down at me and felt the loop of infinite love encircle her?

We are a family which avows our love every time we feel it. We are lucky to feel it often.

Every morning before school I tell my son, “I have something very important to tell you. It is the MOST important thing.” He smiles, caught up in the ritual, and chimes back, “I know what it is!”

I ask him, “But do you really? Do you know what I need to tell you?” Then in unison we exclaim, “I LOVE YOU!”

We create comparative analysis moments to exclaim our love throughout the day. “I love you more than garbage trucks.” or “I love you more than the creamer in my coffee.” I write him a love note every day and place it in his lunch. There are many days when I pick him up from school and he is waiting with a folded card just for me. We wrap every day in expressive love. Hallmark Love Song Card

I know there will be a day that it becomes too much. There will be a day when my son will roll his eyes and shrug off the love. I know this because that is what I did at some point in my youth. At some point in my adolescence similar exuberant proclamations between my mother and I faded as I got to my independence-claiming teen years. We stopped saying we loved each other like we used to. When I said it I rushed and didn’t relish.

Now I try to make sure my mother knows daily that I love and care about her. Saying it is one way, but many times writing it feels more powerful. Valentine’s Day is one of those seasons that belong to the heart. So much of my heart belongs to my family and since we are beginning a new era of our life together in a new home in February, I want some of the first bits of mail there to be missives of appreciation and love.

I’ve also been doing more thinking about this dating thing and I had a bit of an epiphany. Pushing myself to get out there and meet someone is the right impulse, heck it is the only way that will change the direction of a solo flight. But why am I in a rush?

I really need FIRST to date myself, love myself, honor myself.

Love YOU Hallmark CardWhen I look at messages on Valentine’s cards I realize I need to say many of those special things to myself.

I can’t even muster up the readiness to read the messages that come in to my online dating profile, so clearly I am not yet ready for taking another step in that direction. I thought my confidence was there, I thought it was firm and capable of the potential scrutiny of strangers. Recognizing that, no, not yet, and then being ok with that, feels like I am listening to and taking care of myself.

Expanding the focus of love to include my own heart has encouraged me to seek out and do other things to take care of myself. I’ve been enjoying the quiet bliss of reading and given myself a book challenge to read a certain number of books this year. I’m signing up for a water jogging class at the local YMCA that will meet three mornings a week. I want to take myself out to the movies twice a month.

I want to send Valentines to myself, because I need to make myself count. I need to make loving and taking care of myself as important as my love for my family.

I will be putting my heart to paper and sending it exactly where it needs to go. To me.

When you start making your card list for Valentine’s Day- put yourself on the list. When you go to the Hallmark store get yourself the card that says YOU care about YOU. Love yourself.

What would you say to your heart if you were to send yourself a card this Valentine’s Day? Tell me how you would put your heart to paper.

One random winner (selected from these comments) will be given a $250 Visa gift card and Hallmark card pack.
[Tweet “How do you #PutYourHearttoPaper? Visit CreatingMotherhood to let @Hallmark know.”]
• You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this giveaway and leave the URL to that Tweet in a comment on this post
(feel free to use the suggested Tweet)
• No duplicate comments.
• Entries will be received until 10:59pm EST on Friday, February 13, 2015
• Winner will have 72 hours to respond to my email
• The prize for this promotion is provided by and shipped by Hallmark and/or its representatives.

Keep up with the good folks at Hallmark online by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I was given Hallmark Valentine cards to enjoy for this post and I am being compensated by Hallmark to host this giveaway. All content and opinions are mine.

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