Happy Valentine's Day!
When I think about Valentine's Day, my mind goes immediately to childhood. And that is kind of funny because growing up, I thought Valentine's Day was really and truly a grown-up holiday. I was wrong.
I as a little kid, being giggly and embarrassed about the idea of romance. Kissing? Ewwwwww! And then in junior high and high school especially being a little wistful, maybe a little envious of the girls who got flowers and candy and cards and even small gifts from their beau's on February 14th. And then when I was in college, hearing the bitterness and perhaps jealousy with regard to Valentine's Day from the people, both guys and girls, who had no one special in their lives right that moment. And now of course, I'm all growed up, as my kids used to say, and I am lucky enough to be married to my sweetheart and we always do something special for each other on this day. Usually something small, exchange cards, chocolates and flowers maybe. Tonight I will make a special Valentine's Day dinner and it will be lovely.
But when I was a wee small kiddo, Valentine's Day was exciting. Weren't all of the holidays more exciting when we were children?
In primary school, we spent a little time every day for at least a week decorating our classrooms. And then, as instructed, we each brought to school a shoe box! Our teacher cut a slot in the top of the lid, and then we spent another week decorating that shoe box. Doilies and glitter and stickers, oh my! The decorated shoebox acted as a "mailbox" to receive all of the valentine's we each received on the actual day.
Do you remember laboring over cutting out heart shapes that actually looked like heart shapes instead of odd hacked up construction paper lumps? I actually remember the moment when someone took the time to teach me that little fold-over trick to cutting out a perfect heart. I cut out hearts of every size possible in every colour possible and used every remotely paper-ish product I could find and stuck them everywhere that year!
Some kids had amazingly creativity and artistic talent evidenced even at a very young age and their shoebox mailboxes were things of beauty! And then there were the rest of us. What we lacked in talent we made up for with enthusiasm.
The teachers sent home with each student a list of the names of every child in the class and the understanding was that every single kid received a valentine from everyone. So if there were thirty kids in a class, every kid got thirty valentines. I recall sitting a the kitchen table at home with my box of store-bought valentine's, laboriously signing each one and decided which valentine best suited who then writing that name on the corresponding envelope and closing it with a heart sticker.
My sister and I were lucky because our mom loved stuff like that. She went the extra mile and bought us the stickers and the glitter pens with pink ink along with the boxes of valentines.
But I also remember some years making valentines at home for each kid in the class instead of buying them. Of course they had no envelopes that way and they certainly didn't look professional (because they so were not!) but I had fun doing it and it was a gift from my heart.
On the actual day, maybe an hour before the end of the school day, all teaching came to a halt and the party began. I do not know who supplied the goodies, (probably various parents) but there were cupcakes with red and pink frosting and heart shaped cookies and candies of one sort or another and red kool-aid to drink as we each took turns being 'mailman' and delivered our valentines to all of the boxes.
As we left school that day, we each had our highly decorated and much heavier boxes tucked under our arms to be opened once we were home. So the excitement continued!
Joy and I read our valentine's aloud to each other and giggled over who gave us what. I remember the year Joy got about a dozen valentine's from one boy. I think his name was Joseph maybe? We taped our cards to our bedroom and closet door and left them up for a ridiculously long time. Probably until Easter.
And we gave our parents and Nana home made valentine's that we laboured over in secret. Although they were sticky with glue and shedding glitter rapidly apace, Mother and Nana (and Daddy if he was home) accepted each valentine as if it were a treasure. There was always a special Valentine's Day dessert in our house that night. And now that I think about it, I would be shocked to learn that either of us slept at all that night considering how much sugar we ate in just those few hours!
And then we grew up.
And now Valentine's Day is sweet and wonderful and I love it but it just doesn't have the excitement that it did all those years ago. In fact, it wasn't until I had children of my own and watched their little eyes light up and the giggles set in and I received my own glittery, sticky home made valentines from them, that I remembered what a real Exciting childhood Valentine's Day truly was.
I hope you each got to have sticky, glittery, home made Valentines at least once in your lives coz they are the absolute best!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.