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Valentines, Schmalentines

Posted Feb 12 2014 12:00am

I dunno. 

Maybe this is the time when you all realize that I'm shaking my cane and yelling, "Get offa my lawn!"

but I don't remember Valentine's Day being SUCH A BIG DEAL when I was younger. I mean, I think that I remember grabbing a box of $2 valentines, and painstakingly writing the name of each student in the class on them - and sliding them into brown bags that we'd decorated and taped to the chalkboard ledge -

but that was it. I don't remember anyone giving candy, or having a party at school, or the SUPER ELABORATE GUILT TRIPPING valentines I see spread all around - kind of like the one my daughter wanted to give out. She found a valentine (on PINTEREST)  that called for you to pack marshmallows, candy corn, pretzel rods and I don't know WHAT all else - and you had to print off directions for How to Build a Snowman -

and it had an image from the movie Frozen - 

and this has been a very heavy week for me, work wise, and I've fallen into bed so tired I can't see straight. Last night, my shorties attended a cooking class - a Christmas gift from one of the older kids, and a raging success - and while they were locked in carefully supervised by loving eyes that were not mine and so had way more patience than I will ever possess

I went to Target to pick up cereal, oatmeal, plastic baggies and valentines. My youngest shortie? She was easy. She'd spent several hours online with Target's own brand of personal fulfillment - aka the search bar - and had picked just exactly the right cards. 

They were Nerds candy cards, if anyone cares. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.

While I was standing there in the aisle, I grabbed two bags of Kit Kat valentines for my other shortie. No harm, no foul - surely she'd understand that I am really, really overwhelmed, and the thought of having to find marshmallows/pretzels/candy corn/one other item I've blocked out

and make sure that they are both gluten free and peanut/tree nut free

and then buy the little baggies with the twist ties

and print off the cards

and assemble them

and staple them

made me want to crawl into the display bed at Target, grab the teddy bear, and suck my thumb. 

When it came time to pick them up, they flew out of the class, bubbling over (we made Hoppin' John! And Benne Seed cookies! Can we go again? We had so, so much fun!), and I thought I'd surprise them with the valentines. 

The shortie with the Nerds was delighted. 

The shortie with the Kit Kats burst into tears. They were NOT WHAT SHE WANTED.

(And, yes, I know that they aren't gluten or tree nut or peanut free - I had an alternate plan for those friends of hers.) Through her tears, she choked out that these Kit Kat valentines weren't what she wanted, they weren't in her plan. 

It wasn't like it was IN HER HEAD. 

Isn't that how it is for all of us? It's not like it was in our head. No matter how hard we try - It's Not Like It Was In Our Head.

So, without saying anything, I popped them in the truck and we drove back over to Target. I returned the offensive Kit Kat valentines, got the money on a gift card and turned to my daughter. 

"This is Valentine's day. It's not Easter, or Christmas, or Mother's day or Father's day. I can appreciate that you want to make your friends feel special, but this week, I cannot go the extra mile. I feel like taffy pulled in 100 million different directions. There is $10 on this card. You are welcome to go to the Valentine's area of the store, where you can pick out any valentine that you want to give your friends - with this $10. It cannot be something that I need to help you with at all. It cannot be a valentine that will require one shred of assistance from me. Please choose whatever you want - within those parameters."

Happy, she nodded acquiescence and picked Pixi Sticks. For a brief minute, I was pissed off at myself - I really should want to create a Pinterest appropriate valentine for my daughter, who cares if it took a lot of work and was stressful for me? She's only going to be young once and I should just be happy to do this,

but then I repeated to myself, It's just Valentine's Day. 

A happy daughter, with a valentine that didn't reuqire multiple steps, ingredients, and didn't go overboard.

Which is almost what it was like in my head. 

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