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February 7, 2020
Who remembers passing notes to the boy you had a crush on when you were a kid? I believe it went something like this: “Do you like me? Check ‘yes’ or ‘no.’” The note had two little check boxes and was folded into a piece of origami art. Your heart was in your stomach as you nervously handed the note to your BFF who delivered it directly to your crush. Sometimes you got the note back right away, and sometimes it took days. Either way it was agony to wait. How could we place our fragile egos into one tiny little question?
When I was growing up, we purchased our Valentine’s Day cards and wrote a name on each one. We went through the entire day excitedly receiving gestures of like and love from our peers. The popular kids were easy to spot on the bus ramp – loaded down with balloons and too many cards to carry from their admirers.
When my daughter was in preschool, a few store-bought Paw Patrol cards with a bag of fruit snacks and voila, you were done. Now that she’s in elementary school, we must step up our game. Valentine’s Day is more sophisticated with custom-designed cards courtesy of Etsy and Pinterest accompanied with gift bags for each friend, not to mention the DIY shoe boxes the kids create to collect them all. I am Amazon Prime mom. I lack the talent and patience for crafting and buy everything we need assembled and ready to go.
When my oldest daughter Ella was in kindergarten, her crush was also born on Valentine’s Day. She begged me to buy him a present but that was a hard no for me. She doesn’t need to be prancing into class with gifts and a declaration for the one she loves at age 5. Later that day Ella came home upset because she was the only girl who did not have a gift for him. Are you serious? This is kindergarten people. Lord have mercy; I am in for a long ride.
Truthfully, I just hadn’t wanted her to get hurt or rejected. Her request took me back to the fifth grade when my friend Heather and I bought the boys we liked tie dyed t-shirts with a football and their names airbrushed on the front. Why on earth did we think this was a this was a good idea? We nervously showed up to school with Valentine’s Day gifts for dudes who were not even our boyfriends. They were embarrassed of course, and we were brushed off. A few days later my guy brought me a teddy bear with a little heart. It was clearly a consolation prize purchased by his mother who most likely didn’t want me to end up as a story on ABC’s After School Specials. I held onto that bear all year hoping he liked me, but he didn’t. That bear was false hope.
Now my baby is in the second grade and she is much older and wiser. She admits that she is just in it for the candy score. This momma is smarter too. We hit up the dollar store, buy in bulk and recruit her little sister for the assembly line.
Right now, it’s all about the chocolate and candy pop rings. We’ll save love and lavish gestures for her teen years.