Bless me, Father, I still do valentines for my grown up kids. I’m five years past the classroom Valentine’s Box hoopla of hunting down a shoe box and trying to decorate it about half an hour before bedtime the night before. The grocery store Valentines that we argued over still had to be labeled for every kid in the class–(neatly, please! You can’t even tell whose name that is!)–with protests and whining about having to give one (yes, a NICE one) to all the girls. Doing this with my daughter was easier. A pink girly Valentine box with stickers and hearts was just fine, but is there such a thing as a masculine Valentine box? Something about lizards and Darth Vader just doesn’t say Valentine’s Day. But whatever.
Valentine boxes always caused issues. There were always the one or two kids who got all the lame valentines, the over-achieving parents who had to ALSO include candy (no nuts, gluten free) with each one, and the surprise and gossip caused by finding an extra special note from “Guess Who?” or “Secret Admirer.” Bless the teachers on Valentine’s Day, who try to judge the best box, organize 20+ hyper first graders to put the right valentines in the right boxes, and oversee the class party with spilled red juice and way too many pink cupcakes. They are headed straight to heaven.
Bless the parents of multiple grade schoolers who have to oversee and coordinate 40, 60, or 80 plus handwritten valentine notes and go through untold closets to find battered and torn shoe boxes. Bless those Mother Hubbard parents whose craft cabinets are bare of glitter, stickers and glue. Who are cleaning up said glitter and piles of sticky spilled Fun Dip and pixie sticks this very morning. And who will, by rights, pilfer their children’s valentine candy upon their arrival home from school. Did they learn nothing from Halloween? Thou shalt not trust parents with chocolate. I’m pretty sure that’s in the Bible somewhere. I’m paraphrasing.
This morning my 17-year-old came down ready for school and tucked into breakfast with approximately zero idea that the calendar had flipped to February 14. It’s actually kind of refreshing how un-phased he is by the date. In late December, the aisles of Christmas decorations have barely disappeared when suddenly everything turns to red and pink. Those chalky pastel candy hearts with the stamped messages show up: hot stuff, QT pie, be mine. He is happily oblivious and has been since middle school.
Not one valentine box has survived. I can’t even track down any of the valentines either of my kids have received over the years from “yore good freind Taylor.” Our shoe boxes inevitably got recycled into show & tell containers, book report dioramas, or a fancy house for the hapless frog that forgot to make itself scarce in the backyard.
So, although I do not miss the valentine box phase, I haven’t quite given up on the day altogether. This morning I snuck a bag of cherry blow pops into my high school junior’s lunchbox because it is open season for trying to bribe a hug from a bristly adolescent who now towers over me.
At least it wasn’t a love-struck Darth Vader holding a pastel heart stamped with “hubba hubba”. I do have standards.