Happy Valentine’s Day – ugh
"Mom!" he exclaimed, pawing through a grocery bag of Valentine bling collected at school. "Look at this. Lollipops and candies. And all I gave the people were cards."
The points for social awareness outweighed the demerit for materialism. I had just become one of those shovel-ready projects folks kept talking about during stimulus discussions. Dig a hole. I'll crawl in.
Part of the problem was lack of awareness. There was some Valentine swag at preschool - a pencil here, a gummy there, one girl even made heart-shaped magnets last year. But that was a mere trickle compared to this year's flood. Every card had a heart-shaped lollipop or tattoos or pencils attached. Except, of course, Big Guy's.
The rest results from long-simmering bitterness. I'm not exactly a Valentine's Day Grinch - I've never swiped a single rose off anyone's desk - but my heart does contract 10 sizes every Feb. 14.
I think it started in third grade, when I didn't get a "secret admirer" card from Jimmy Straughn. Or anyone else for that matter.
It escalated in high school when girl after girl would parade down the hall like Miss America in her walk after being crown, cradling carnations some club had conveniently sold that day.
It peaked during my single days, when guys would either magically dump me in early February - hint: if you're trying to get out of giving a gift, a mid-January ditch is much less obvious - or just "forget" in a sure sign of "he's just not that into you."
And now, after nine years with an event-oblivious mate, I'm simply resigned.
"What's that?" Dad asked a few years ago as I frantically iced heart-shaped cookies for the guys' party that was less than 12 hours away.
I was too stressed to waste energy rolling my eyes. "Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. They're for the kids to take to school."
"Valentine's Day? I thought that was in April."
"No, that's my birthday. Remember - it's nine days after yours."
"I thought your birthday was in May."
"No, that's Mother's Day."
"I thought Mother's Day was in September."
"No, that's your mother's birthday."
He'd completely glossed over our anniversary, which is in March and the same day as a major holiday in his culture. We picked that date in part to make it memorable. It didn't work.
So here I am, an alleged adult, visiting my hostilities on a small child, causing him untold social embarrassment.
"I'm sorry, babes. We just didn't think of it. We'll do better next year."
"Good," Big Guy replied. "Because it's nice to give candy to the people on Valentine's Day."
There is no hope for the dad, but the child still can be saved.
Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.