Valentine’s Day Message from Heather & The Peas


Special Valentine’s Day Message from Heather Sumlin


Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I wanted to write something a little different in honor of this special Holiday. Below is a little story about what my kids have taught me about love. Many of you know that I have two kids – a son, Austin, who is 15 and a daughter, Ashley, (we call her “The Peas”) who is 7.  (I’m working on writing a book about my kids and what I have learned from them, this is one of the stories I’m considering adding – I’m still editing and thinking through it but would love your thoughts.)


The Peas is Engaged!


One day I was going through The Peas’ closet searching for something and I stumbled onto a rather large red heart shaped box.  I had never seen this box before and was perplexed as to where it may have come from.  As soon as The Peas saw it she snatched it out of my hands as fast as she could, acting as if she was hiding a prized possession.


I asked her if I could have it and she said “NO” very sternly and her face was turning bright red!  “What on earth could she be hiding in that box?” I wondered.


Finally, I convinced her that we do not keep secrets in this family.  Reluctantly she handed me the box.  Inside it I found a folded note.  As I slowly opened it I asked her “Is this a love letter?” She giggled and held her hands to her face in embarrassment.


It was indeed a love letter from a little boy named Dalen.  I couldn’t read the letter since it was written by a 6 year old using the “Best Guess Spelling” technique but the gist was that he loves her.  Aw!  So sweet.


As if that was not enough, she proceeds to tell me that he asked her to marry him when they get older and they pinky swore to make it official.  Oh my!  My little girl is engaged and she hasn’t even reached First Grade yet!


This little event reminded me of when Austin was in Pre-School.  I remember it clearly.  He jumped in the car after a long day at school and before we got down the road he said “Mommy, when will I be an adult?”  Not knowing where this was headed I said “When you are 21.” Without hesitation he said with complete confidence and a hint of a loving sigh “When I’m 21 I’m gonna marry Sierra.”  It was so cute!!  He had his first crush at 4 years old.  How sweet.  For 6 months straight he talked about Sierra everyday.


It seems to me that little kids love easy. Their hearts are open because they have never been broken. A broken heart is only something they might hear in a movie but not something they understand or believe is even possible. Little kids have faith in ever lasting fairy tales and listen to what their heart says without question or reservation.


I can learn from them to be careful not to build strong and tall walls around my heart. Walls meant to keep my heart protected rarely served me well. I can learn to love with ease and comfortableness, to never assume that hurt is just around the corner.  Little kids don’t pretend to care about people, or pretend to not care, they just do.  Their little hearts are open and welcome the opportunity to give, not only receive, kindness from others.


So how does this relate to pageantry?


As titleholders part of your job is to be open, honest, kind and respectful to everyone. In many ways it is your main job. How often do we hear girls say they should WIN the title because they are approachable, relate-able, genuine, real or natural? Those adjectives all kinda mean the same thing “I have no walls. I’m not stuffy. I can talk to anyone. You can trust me to reach out to people without reservation or hesitation.”


It’s not an easy job sometimes to let the walls down, open up to others and be willing to embrace those around you with love.  But maybe if we look at it like we were 5 years old we would be more quick to pull down the walls and give to others with no expectation of return. In “pageantland” hugs are abundant. Hearts and happy faces are everywhere. Is the smile you show and the hugs you give truly heartfelt? Only you know the answer. I can honestly say that for many years, prior to having kids, they weren’t for me. I was just going through the motions without really opening up and letting my guard down. Due to my adorable kids and my connection to pageantry I have learned to love without hesitation. Today, if I hug you, it’s not because I have to. If I give a compliment, I truly mean it. If I ask a question, I actually want the answer.


Embrace those around you, hug often, be quick to open your heart and slow to judge. Don’t just say you are real and approachable – live it every day just like you did when you were a carefree, happy kid.


Happy Valentine’s Day


Previous post:

Next post: