Come for the Richard Nixon Birthday party for a four year old video? Go here. or to the post below.
I was a child in the 70s and on Valentine's Day, we'd give those mass produced paper valentines out to all the kids in the class. You know the ones that came 10 to a perforated sheet? Perhaps a Disney character or two. Pooh Bear rubbing his plump tummy while saying, "I love you, Hunny!"
I remember racing home from school and pouring over those little valentines, marveling at the colors and designs and the supposed sentimentality behind each one.
Fast forward 30 years to Valentine's 2008. I'm the room mother at my daughter's preschool, helping to hand out the valentine's day cards. Only in today's world, like all things in today's world, simple is no longer valued. Oh no. Those perforated little cards are tucked into cellophane bags dotted with sparkling hearts. The bags are filled with candy, the candy is hidden underneath stickers, and the bags are topped with light up twirly Sponge Bob pens for the boys, Hannah Montanna (sigh...) for the girls.
I stood there, helping the kids hand out big bags of goodies, having such a Charlie Brown moment. For I had hand made each valentine for Miss Boo's classmates. Carefully selecting the perfect sparkling red construction paper. Cutting them into tiny little squares. Fraying the edges to give them a crafty appearance. And, of course, hand writing personal messages to each child in the class.
When it was time to pass out Miss Boo's valentines, she became instantly embarrassed. "How come we didn't attach suckers to our valentines? Where are the the suckers, Mommy?"
Right here, honey. The sucker is your mother. She should have known everything has been cranked up a billion notches since she was a kid. And yet... it simply didn't register AGAIN. The kids were handing bouquets of flowers and boxes of chocolates to teachers as I stood there, empty handed and feeling completely foolish. Something for the teachers... how could I have forgotten THAT?
When we got home, I dumped out Boo's valentine bag on the floor so we could look at each valentine card, just like I did as a kid. Boo rolled her eyes and kicked at them with her toes. "I don't care about THOSE, I just want the candy!" She raced away with a massive heart shaped sucker in her hand while the babies tossed the paper valentines into the air and babbled with joy. Avie, Juna, and I read each valentine, oohing and ahhing over the colors, designs, and sappy phrases.
I put the last paper valentine back into Boo's bag when I noticed a forgotten one that had been kicked to the side by Boo's toe. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was also a hand made card. Red card stock was carefully lined with pink paper. The front was covered in a puffy googley tiger that said, "You're puuuur-fect, Valentine!"
It was from her teacher. Her teacher had also gone the route of the simple home made card. Inside the card she had pasted a special valentine's quote she had printed up on the computer. It's a quote made famous by author Joanna Fuchs.
"Whenever I may go
You're in my thoughts and in my heart.
Wherever I may go:
On Valentine's Day
I'll like to say
I care more than you know."
And the quote was attributed to,
After doing take after double take, and after taking the card into brighter light to make sure my newly lasered eyeballs weren't playing tricks on me, I laughed. I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed.
You see? Simple IS better.
Happy Valentine's Day, my friends.