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The other day when I was driving my 12-year-old daughter and her friends to a party, I was entertained by their conversation. They were talking excitedly and giddily about boys from school they thought were cute. Although boys and crushes have been the topic of many conversations, most are focused on unattainable, fantastical movie stars like Taylor Lautner, Sterling Knight, and of course, all three of the Jonas Brothers.

This particular tête-à-tête between my daughter and her friends was different. This time they were talking about actual boys they interact and communicate with every day. They are the cute little boys I have known since kindergarten; and thankfully, the ones they were talking about have grown into polite, respectable tweens.

I remember my first crush and the exciting time of life that first spark of the heart ignites. Like my daughter, my first venture into the world of puppy love was also in sixth grade. He lived next door to one of my best friends, and we would conjure up all kinds of plans to lure him out of his house. Sometimes they worked; most times they didn't. But, we kept trying.

Puppy love is something we all have experienced, and we have all gotten over it. But, it's an important and normal part of childhood development. These experiences help us differentiate between a "crush" and "true love." February is a perfect time to reflect on these experiences and be thankful for them, because, chances are, they have led you to the person you're with now.

Just like first-time crushes, another memorable part of childhood is riding the iconic yellow school bus to and from school. In Brian Kantz's Newbie Dad article, "The Magic School Bus," on page 14, he reminisces about his days with the bullies and braggarts on the school bus. He also writes about his pride as a father watching his kindergarten-bound son handle this transportation milestone with enthusiasm and fondness.

For your monthly dose of humor, check out Tracie Grimes's Humor at Home article, "The Art of Embarrassing Your Children," on page 7. She writes about the talent it takes to turn your children's cheeks red when retelling an embarrassing moment from their childhood. She jokes that this form of humiliation takes a certain finesse and style, so don't be afraid to ham it up! They will love it!

February is not just about romance and roses, it is also deemed National Children's Dental Health Month by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists. To read KCFM's special dental health section, turn to page 9. The article, "10 Tips to Keep Your Kids Cavity-Free: From Toddler to Teen," gives you tips to prevent cavities and promote good oral hygiene.

Also, check out this month's fabulous moms who make up Valley Bible Fellowship's Mother of Preschoolers (MOPS) group on page 13. MOPS groups give moms a chance to expand their talents and friendships while their children learn and grow with structured play.

February is synonymous with romantic dinners by candlelight, heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates, red roses, and all the symbolic tokens of love. So, this Valentine's Day, no matter what type of love you are celebrating – from a first crush to true love – be thankful for all those experiences that have brought you to this point in your life. It's true what the poets' say, "Love is grand!"

Happy Valentine's Day!

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