Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. My son refers to it as a “Hallmark Holiday”. All consumer hype with little real meaning. I have to admit that this day meant much more to me when I was fourteen than it does now. The very first Valentine my husband ever gave to me he made out of red construction paper and little candy hearts. His next one was a huge store bought card with an elephant on the front. The homemade one fell apart eventually because I would ponder its loving contents over and over again while we were dating. Today our Valentine’s Day is really every day as we are in our thirty-ninth year of marriage.
When our children were in school Valentines Day meant that I had to find just the right little cards for the classroom. By that time students were “required” to have a Valentine for each classmate. You were issued a list of names most of which your child did not even recognize. I think this was my first lesson in “elementary correctness”. Something I had not experienced myself having gone home several Valentine holidays with less than a handful of cards. At the time, I’m sure I was devastated. Older and wiser I now see the experience as character building.
It was at this time that I also experienced the annoying but shrewd effects of a well planned out marketing scheme. Those Valentines would always come in a box that was three Valentines short of the number of children in the class. ALWAYS. So I would have to ponder how I could get out of buying a whole new box and then throwing almost the entire thing away. What made it even more complicated was the fact that my two eldest were male and female so that the style of cards they demanded were polar opposite. %$^&*@#
Then once I became a heavily indoctrinated “Room Mother”, I found my entire identity wrapped up in the cards and the “treats” that inevitably had to be attached to each card.
They had to be perfect. Or at least in my mind they had to be. I went from candy hearts, to stickers and candy hearts, to stickers, candy hearts, AND crayons or pencils. My kid’s Valentines were going to the BEST damn it !
My eldest Grandson is now in the second grade. His mother is expecting Grandson number three any day now. I have flirted with the idea of offering my services in the school Valentine department however, I truly do not think that I would do the job justice. If the practice is even still an on going thing. For all I know the classroom Valentines may have been abolished to prevent bullying, loss of self-esteem, or a financial burden. All of which are good things in today’s world I suppose.
I do hope however, that somewhere out there some young person is getting a handmade Valentine from someone who truly loves them and that it lasts a lifetime.