Valentine’s Day kind of caught me off guard this year. Maybe it was the way it happened two days early. The school district used some sleight of hand to slip in an extra week off. In the middle of February. (Kid reaction: Yay! Parent reaction: Eek! What are you kids doing here? Shouldn’t you be in school? Learning?)
Anyway because of this smoke and mirrors break, I had to scramble to pull some heart-y type stuff together in time for school Valentine’s Day parties on Friday. Unfortunately, other, smarter parents with better calendar management skills had beaten me to the drugstore. So I trolled around for other ideas. (Thanks, Popsugar! I was almost starting to feel comfortable with my own inadequacy until you came along!)
And in my inadequate scramble, scrolling through 762 Valentine card ideas, I began to feel like Valentine’s Day is a little creepy. I mean, do we really want elementary school kids declaring their undying love for everyone in their class, like I did at parties in my twenties? (“I just feel so close to you guys right now. I love you all! Let’s hug! And have more wine!”) I’d be happy if we didn’t push the idea of romantic love on these kids until . . . well, I don’t actually know when I’ll be ready for that to happen. Grad school, maybe?
Anyway, this whole holiday just seems kinda creepy when you put it in a kid context, doesn’t it? Around the 538th glow stick card, declaring how another kids lights up my kid’s life, I wanted to shower, and then give the kids a bath. And I don’t think my seven year old can call all the people who gave him candy hearts emblazoned with “Call me!” until he get a phone. In middle school, if he’s lucky.
“This is kind of inappropriate,” I thought to myself. And then I thought of several, even more wildly inappropriate Valentine messages that would definitely call for my removal from the PTA’s sucker list. Now my mind is full of off-color glow stick innuendo and if either kid comes home with bubbles in their Valentine haul, I am going to need to be ventilated to stop giggling and snorting. (At least, that’s how the people at Party City revived me, with their balloon tanks.)
But somehow, I did convince myself to try and find some simple valentines that would not require hours of assembly, cost the Hope Diamond, or make my kids seem weird. And they had to come in some combination that adds up to 30.
And we managed to tape a lot of construction paper* hearts to happy-face pencils, without undue discord on the marital front, because that would really go against the spirit of the thing,wouldn’t it? So I did it while the Mister was working late and I made the kids write all the names. For the little guy, this was sort of the equivalent of writing a volume of Game of Thrones. But he managed it, so maybe he’ll be a wildly successful sci-fi/fantasy novelist someday. That’s something to look forward to!
And, upon awaking on actual Valentine’s Day, two boys who are all knees and elbows slipped into our bed. They had noticed the boxes of candy hearts on the table, but we’re worried that I didn’t have any Valentines, because there were no candy hearts at my place. It’s true, those clever other parents had already cleared the drugstore shelves of my beloved sweet-tart hearts, so I figured that I would just steal the white ones from their candy heart boxes and call it a day.
“Don’t worry,” I assured them. “I’m sure Papa has a great big fancy surprise Valentine for me.” The boys accepted this answer, but the Man of My Dreams choked somewhat hesitantly before he went on with his pretend snoring. Ah, marriage.
Maybe my gift is that he will remember to wipe down the countertops after he does the dishes. I will keep my fingers crossed!
In the meantime, a cozy day in the cozy Fun Apartment seems lovey-dovey enough for me. And I hope that feeling lasts all the way through the completely made-up winter break holiday.
*Why is it called construction paper? Only one of the three little pigs would be stupid enough to build a house out of it!