Remember Valentines Day when you were in elementary school? Did you make heart pockets out of construction paper or a shoebox mailbox to collect those 15+ perforated Valentines greetings in un-mailable, un-sealable envelopes? I remember.
It’s 2012 and those cartoonish paper Valentines are still on the market. They’re on the bottom shelf at the drug store. Underneath the Spongebob Valentine lollipops or the Twilight chocolate hearts. Underneath the blinking heart pencil toppers and the all-in-one conversation hearts in a Valentine greeting box that you can personalize.
It’s that heartfelt thought that counts, right? We try to install that very value in our family. We talked about the history of Valentines Day with our 6th grade son and our 4th grade daughter.
One version, according to http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day is this:
Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.
We also shared accounts of our elementary Valentines Day experiences (33 years ago). Scooby Doo and Tweety Bird, 2 dimensional cards with barely legible signatures from classmates. Maybe chocoloate Hershey’s kisses from the teacher. We all agreed that it was a day of appreciation and acknowledgement, time to exchange little notes about love and/or friendship.
After those simple, yet, happy thoughts and dreamy memories, our boy chose not to celebrate the day anyway, that would mean appreciating and acknowledging the girls in his class. He probably would have re-considered if they played PS3 online and were a challenging opponent or skilled team player. Our daughter, however, the budding artist and fairytale fanatic (her favorite movies have mermaids and magic), stayed up an hour past bedtime to personally pen Valentines Day cards to her classmates. There are 31 students in her class.
She decided to give out Valentines Day greetings on February 13th at 8:30pm, her bedtime. At first, I suspected it was a delay tactic, but she was serious. Our mission was laid out for us, either I went out into the cold, rainy night to the nearby Target store to hunt and sift through the mess (I wanted to say Valentines Day Massacre) or we pull out the leftover Valentines from Kindergarten through 3rd grade (I thought they might come in handy someday but didn’t know how). She’s a Girl Scout and all about recycling and not wasting resources so she opted to use the unused Valentines from the previous years. (Whew!)
But, we were 3 greetings short. (Oh! No! I dreaded that I was going to have to head out into the dark and dreary night). Again, my creative, resourceful and thoughtful girl unknowingly rescued me and decided she would customize and make the last 3 cards especially for her 3 closest friends. (Whew again!) She was determined about designing, cutting, pasting and assembling her cards then composing a special Valentines Day message for each of her buddies. Tired, but happy, she finally went to bed.
I was anxious to follow-up with her the next day after school. Valentines Day. We had our special family Valentines Day fondue dinner planned, there were chocolate hearts scattered on the dining table, I had little secret treats to present them for dessert, she wore a Valentines Day t-shirt, we were excited!
I sensed she was in a mood. I asked her about Valentines Day at school as she plopped her overflowing construction paper heart pocket on the kitchen table. She was seeing red but not in the cinnamon heart, foil-covered chocolate sense. Disappointed and deflated, she shared with us that as she personally and enthusiastically handed out her cards to each of her classmates, she was asked where the candy was.
Damn you Nestle!! Get your own holiday!!