Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-Valentine's Day; I don't hate it. Nor am I against other people celebrating it. I'm not the cynic in the corner muttering into my glass of wine that it's a trumped up holiday, a Hallmark invention, an excuse to boost sales in February after the retail doldrums of post Christmas consumer burnout.*
People want to celebrate love, I say have at it! An excuse to eat chocolate? Um, okay!
Since I eat chocolate every single day anyway, I don't need February 14th to tell me it's okay. And since I live in the modern world in a country that allows me a great deal of personal freedom, I don't need February 14th to tell me to celebrate the love in my life. Every day, I get up and choose to spend my day married to HWSNBN. There are no constraints - moral, cultural, or financial - on my decision to stay with him. I want to be with him. Every day. Some days more than others; he does, after all, snore on occasion. But living in a world where I don't have to stay married to someone means that I choose, over and over again, to be with him. And he with me. If that's not a daily affirmation and celebration of our love, I don't know what is. So we don't do anything special for each other on Valentine's Day. And since we don't do anything special for each other, it never occurred to us to do anything special for The Imp.
(I will take this moment to apologize to his future spouse now: sorry for not teaching him to buy flowers and stuff on this most auspicious day. Hopefully our example will have taught him, however, to buy flowers and stuff for no reason at all, and that will make up for it. Still friends?)
That being said, we do have one small, goofy Valentine's tradition. Six years ago this month, we moved into our apartment. We were both working absurd hours at the time, and couldn't manage to schedule the move in of All Our Stuff until the weekend after Valentine's Day. For a couple of weeks we had our bed, our clothes, and not much else. No dishes, no books, no furniture... That Valentine's Day, we both arrived home late, and famished. Our romantic 9pm Valentine's dinner was a couple of slices of pizza HWSNBN picked up on his way home. Having no cutlery, plates, or napkins - not even a tea towel - we stood together over the kitchen sink hoovering back our lukewarm meal. As a joke, the next year I arranged to have pizza handy, and we leaned over the sink to eat it, giggling like fools. We've done it every year since.
But that's not what this post is about!
This is a post about Crafty Stuff. Although I'm not a crafty gal, despite my love of cooking, sewing and crochet projects that I never finish. I recoil from glitter and glue sticks with something akin to horror, and am mightily grateful that The Imp can get his craft on at daycare, and I don't have to a) come up with fun stuff for him to do or b) clean up the mess after. Score one for outside the home childcare!
And then daycare provided a class list for Valentine's Day.
They were careful to explain that cards were optional and not expected, but that if we were going to bring something, we had to bring something for everyone. Fair enough. I tucked the list into my bag and promptly forgot about it, until the evening of the 13th, when I suddenly remembered. We've never had to do anything for the big day before - at his last daycare all the kids were so little they wouldn't have known what was going on. But now he's hanging with the big kids, the 3-5 year olds, and they most definitely do know what's going on.
It was dark and raining. I did not feel like venturing out to buy cards that would almost certainly end up in the garbage within 48 hours.
So I dug through the "craft supplies" (a plastic bag jammed in the back of a closet) and found: construction paper (someone had given us a pad) and markers. And we have tape and scissors.
The Imp: What we doing, Mommy?
Me: (faking enthusiasm) We're going to make cards for all your friends at school!
The Imp: Happy Birthday cards? (he's made a few of those, mostly scribbles, for family)
Me: Not birthday cards, Valentine's cards!
The Imp: Okay!
I handed him a piece of pink construction paper and a red marker to distract him while I tried to figure out what the hell we were going to do. He promptly and happily began to scribble.
Inspiration! I swapped The Imp's well scribbled-upon paper for a clean sheet, drew heart shapes onto it, and cut them out. Great, now we have hearts. Um...
Green, blue, yellow, and orange construction paper became simple one fold cards. I stuck tape on the back of the heart shapes, The Imp stuck them on the front of the cards. Perfect. I wrote "Happy Valentine's Day!" and "From [The Imp]" on the inside and presto voila alakazam, we can haz Valentine's Day cards for 25 kids in twenty minutes or less for zero dollars.
We wrote his classmates' names on the front of the cards, and delivered them to everyone's decorated paper bag card receptacle this morning. Win!
One of the other parents at daycare this morning looked at our efforts and said, "I can't believe you made all those cards."
Truth? Neither can I.
|And now I have a mess to clean up.|
*Although in writing that, it occurs to me that it all may be true whether I'm a cynic or not.