Don’t get me wrong; we love to celebrate our children’s friendships at school. We LOVE our teachers– been damn lucky every year since birth so far! We LOVE the growing friendships in their classrooms, through our neighborhood, on our mountain. We LOVE the big kids our own look up to. There is so much LOVE in our hearts, but getting it down on paper in the form of valentines is just about impossible– still– even though they can write. In fact, we start about a week out from the big day knowing that our attention spans are good for about 15 minutes of “Valentine Effort” each session.
There was the year Carver was 4 and took a total of 700 hours for him just to sign his name on the preschool cards. There was the year he was 5 and the time was maybe cut in half. Greta has usually been speedy with her valentines– until this year, of course, and it seems to be taking forever. Mind you; we are not fancy. I am as far from the Pinterest mom as I can be, not through my own choice, but because our children are so strong willed and have a very defined “vision” of each year’s valentine. Last year, they were fine with pre-made ones ordered on Amazon as long as they were owls. This year, Carver planned to make origami turtles for the boys (perhaps internally symbolizing “slow and steady wins the race” as it applies to taking forever making valentines for the second grade) and origami swans for the girls. This idea was ditched last night when he started and realized this was a bigger job than he anticipated. However, he compromised with using his origami paper to cut out hearts, also taking forever if you’ve ever seen my son use scissors. He envisions two heart shaped chocolate chip cookies in a plastic bag tied off with blue and green ribbons on which the origami heart is attached. I want you to picture me on the night of Feb. 13 or maybe very early in the wee hours of Feb. 14 tying off this vision. Cookie dough has been made and chilling in the fridge. I would like to be chilling on my couch watching the Olympics. Sorry, I digress.
Greta had already been planning to make hearts out of paper, but she also wanted to make sugar cookie hearts for her whole grade (only 22 kids, not bad) with “pinky/purple” frosting and each person’s name. We also signed up to bring in cherries for the class ice cream sundae celebration, and I’m pretty sure I will forget to purchase those until driving to school on Valentine’s Day.
“Mom, don’t forget, we need to do the allergy sugar cookie recipe because of Jesse.” Yup, on it. Thanks to my friend Michelle I can trick the world (or at least the first grade) into enjoying a sugar cookie that is dairy free, soy free, nut free, and thankfully still tasty. “Mom, I don’t want to write ‘Love, Greta’ because I don’t love everyone in my class.” Yup, ok, that makes sense, so I suggest using “from” instead, and she says, “But some people I do love and I don’t want the people who get ‘from’ to feel bad about me not loving them.” Yup, right-on, man she is really thinking hard about these damn valentines while I’m trying to watch the Olympics while folding laundry and cleaning our fish and turtle tanks. “Mom, I have an idea that is a compromise; I will use ‘from’ but also draw a heart on everyone’s card so no one feels left out.” Awesome idea, G, now get writing. “Mom, where is my list with everyone’s names on them? Carver has his list, but I don’t see my list.”
To be honest, her list could have come home, but I don’t remember her getting one in her folder last week. In my defense, there was a lot going on last week– between me accidentally setting the kitchen stove/bottom of our microwave on fire by leaning on a knob thereby sending the cupcakes on back burner up in flames. Literal flames which put the fire alarm into action, the kids racing out the front door as they had been told, leaving their dad and new dog behind. Our new dog also had some transition problems adjusting to his new family, anxiety represented as diarrhea all over the house. So maybe, the list came home. Maybe it didn’t. I suggested she just do her class from memory, and we can figure out the rest.
We are still two days out from our commercial holiday celebrating the love we feel in our hearts for our friends and family. Who knows if the cookies will get baked tonight– or frosted in time to get everyone’s names on them– or wrapped up in plastic to be brought in with the damn cherries on Wednesday! What I do know is that I love my family, cherish my friends and one day will look back on these days and laugh. Who am I kidding; I’m laughing right now.
Newsflash: I’ve started my own You Tube channel called “Writing from the Front.” My latest one is linked here at Finding my Strong and several folks have asked how to subscribe. Gmail is linked to You Tube, so if you have a gmail account, you can connect to You Tube that way. Or, you can just set up your own You Tube account which is pretty easy. Then, each time I post a new video you will receive an email.