Happy Valentine’s Day. There sure is quite the hullabaloo about a day that supposedly makes folks feel happy. I figure for most it really is about consumption, chocolate and guilt anyway.*
I was a high school teacher when my Oldest was born and so when I went to work, he went to daycare. In order to prove my motherly love in spite of working full time whilst paying someone else to ooh over his first time rolling over, I knew near-Hercluean effort was needed. That first year I was a mother, I made Thanksgiving cards with his tiny thumbprint as reindeer bodies. Christmas cards with his handprints turned into wreathes. Valentine’s hearts cut from his footprints, Easter cards with toe print eggs. Keep in mind I worked full time and still folded all those damn onesies. So rather than sleeping, I made scads of handmade cards for his teachers and classmates, thus proving my worth as a mother and human being. Each holiday’s cards surpassed the previous in cuteness, time consumption, and idiocy.
Fast forward several years. As a kindergartner, he wanted to give out “normal” Valentines. I heaved a sigh and acknowledged my failure as a mother, and then allowed him to pick from three options at the discount super store. That Valentine’s Day, after he rooted through the loot like some kind of porcine hunting truffles, he showed as much interest in his classmates’s Valentines as the cat did. After attempting to get him to sit with me while I read them, I finally just gave up and they eventually went to the Great Recycling Bin in the sky.
The next year, I cringed over being part of such waste so I broke out the recycled paper, my collection of fancy scissors and stamps and commenced to make extra special Valentines to give to his classmates. Again, the cat was more interested. So instead of being part of the process, Oldest ran away to play with shiny things and it was I who folded and scored and cut and printed.
And that was that. Never again. All that work and you know what all those kiddos did with them – looked for attached sugar and then pitched it in the trash. I vowed to abstain from such silliness ever again and go with the cheapest box of Valentines available, Martha Stewart inspired guilt be damned.
Of course, this year, I made the mistake of taking all three kids with me to the discount super center after Littlest had three immunizations and Middlest had blood drawn. The little weasels guilted me into letting them have the most expensive options on the shelves. The worst part? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NEXT YEAR?
And isn’t that what this holiday boils down to? Doing better than last time or than somebody else? If you receive a gift for Valentine’s Day, then you dang well better have a gift to hand back-at that moment- of equal value. Heaven forbid you just have a heart-felt “thank you” instead of a heart-shaped box of chocolate to give in return.
Mister Soandso and I celebrate Valentine’s Day in much the same way as we celebrate other days of the week. If one feels motivated, then by all means, do something. But let’s not do something just because of guilt.
So this morning, when he handed me a card and a gift box, and all I had to give him was a big bed-head-fancy hug, well that was just fine.
This year he gave me a gorgeous card and a very sparkly earring/necklace set. I don’t remember but I think last year he may have given me a lusty kiss in the laundry room.
I refuse to feel guilted into running out today and getting him something in return. After all, I am making pot roast for dinner tonight. It’s his favorite and I make a fabulous pot roast. However, there may need to be kissing in the laundry room.
*Warning: this post may include bits of sarcasm, hyperbole or outright fabrication. Enjoy!