I liked Valentine’s Day when I was a kid. The PTA deemed that each class was to have two parties per year: Christmas and Valentine’s Day. There was a boy in our class who was Jehovah’s Witness. His mom sent a note every year that he was not to participate in Christmas activities. He had to sit in the hall for the Christmas party. I always felt so bad for him. It was hard to fully enjoy the sugar bonanza that Christmas parties were in elementary school, when one of your friends is sitting in the hall pretending to read a book, but really just feeling miserable that you got cupcakes and he didn’t. But everyone got to take part in Valentine’s Day. There was no guilt in that candy-palooza.
We always made the sack “mailboxes” and hung them on our cubbies. I had no sense of restraint, so mine was completely covered in construction paper hearts, glue, glitter, anything I could get my hands on during craft time. How that thing didn’t crack apart is proof that God suspends the laws of physics for children. My mom would let my sister and I pick out a box of Valentines at the store to give to our friends. She had one rule: we gave a Valentine to everyone in our class or no one. Fair enough. But I didn’t have to give the “good” ones in the box to people I didn’t like. Each Valentine was carefully selected to give to the proper person. The boy I had a crush on or was “going with” at the time and my BEST BEST BEST friend that week got what I deemed to be the choice cards in the box and it was a sliding scale from there.
Time passed. Baby Daddy became my baby daddy. Valentine’s Day is perfectly nice, but not that big a thing. Honestly, he married me. What more is there? Although, like my mom, I have rules about Valentines: you don’t have to anything big or extravagant, but if you’re gonna do something, do it right. Write a nice note, clean out a closet, pick up my favorite candy or a CD I mentioned I’d like, all beautiful gifts. Do not show up at this house with half dead carnations – FUNERAL FLOWERS – in a teddy bear mug. That’s just tacky!
This is first Valentine’s Day Monkey Boy has any idea is happening. I made goody bags for his classmates weeks ago, filled with candy and silly toys. Attached to each bag is a card with Mater or Lightening McQueen, of course. I was feeling pretty crafty and like maybe I’m starting get this mom gig down. No wild-eyed, crazy running around at the last minute. I had this together! In. Advance. This is the sort of thing Moms get awards for. I even picked up brownies at the store, cause Lord knows I don’t bake, but that still totally counts.
He saw me packing up the brownies in his school bag, and was super jazzed about them. He wanted brownies for breakfast. I told him they were for the Valentine’s Day party to share with his friends. He looked at me like I’d sworn at him. “What?! I’m not sharing my brownies with my friends!” Yep, I’m Mother. Of. The. Year.