In elementary school, our school had love bears. You paid a dollar or something like that for them and sent them to the “friends” you wanted. In my entire time at Ryan Elementary, I never got one. Not once. I started hating Valentine’s Day right then and there.
It’s a stupid holiday really. Love, schmuve. The Saint Valentine story isn’t very romantic. I mean, I guess *he* (St. Valentine) was a little. He married people, in secret. Claudius put a ban on marriage with the thinking that unmarried soldiers fought better. Typical idiotic thinking. Saint Valentine married them anyway and then got his head cut off.
So now, we exchange tokens of love or, like me, we don’t at all and spend the rest of our lives thinking about how stupid the holiday really is.
Devlynn and I were walking through Wegmen’s. She pouted through the pink and red of the Valentine’s section. She hates it too. She’s single. Having trouble with fitting in and making friends that last. She too hates Valentine’s Day.
And now, to add the the distaste, I’ve fallen into the pressure of “world’s best toddler/preschool Valentine”. Because I am “that mom”. And I used to really love to make them but now? It’s like a competition of who can make and deliver the best Valentine ever. It’s really sucked the fun out of it.
This year I may let the kids pick boxed cards. I may refuse to attach lollipops and pencils. I may send dark cards with bad jokes or I may just ignore it all together.
I have slowly but surely fallen into the “I hate the holidays” slump. Christmas about sends me over the edge every year and now I am starting to dread the little ones too. Easter may put me in a straight jacket if I see another basket stuffed with 10 speeds and iPhones.
But as I complain, I wonder to myself, why do I care? Why does it matter what someone else fills their child’s basket with? It doesn’t but I can’t help but flash back to the day when I didn’t get the bear Valentine and the many years after when I just wasn’t “important” enough to celebrate.
I work hard to make sure my kids feel loved each and every holiday. I won’t be able to protect them from feeling left out at school or missing out when candy-grams are passed around but I can teach them at home, that their tiny chocolate token has just as much love in it as the neighbor boy’s bicycle. It’s hard to teach kids about comparisons, especially when you’re still navigating the ideas yourself. When you feel like less of a parent because you have to work so much harder for the vacation or the baseball bat or the lacrosse lessons. It’s easy to forget that everyone is working for something. Especially when you’re viewing the highlight reels of Facebook.
This Valentine’s Day I should perhaps ask my children to love on someone who might not get the bear Valentine. Simple acts can change lives. Just tiny things. This holiday we made cookies for our neighbors on both the right and left side. In addition to the two small plates I made for them, I thought to include a third for the nice lady across the street who compliments the children and also roots on our football team. A small plate with pizzelles, oatmeals and gingerbread,s and a few yummy spritz, which are my fav to make. Tiny and sprinkled with lovely sugar. I sent the three oldest boys out for delivery on Christmas Eve and thought nothing of it till the third plates owner caught me walking home from school. She thanked us and mentioned her dad had died the 23rd. And that spritz cookies were her favorite and that she’d not made them this year (even though she made them every year with her late mother’s vintage press) because she was so sad. And seeing the tiny plate, delivered by tiny hands with her favorite holiday cookie, made her happy for a moment in a time of great sadness.
Who knew a few cookies could make things okay, even if for just one minute.
So this year, I am going to encourage my kids to send proverbial bears. So no one else hates Valentine’s day. Because no one else should feel unloved…..