Dear Daughter, Yes you are going to school on Valentine’s Day
She has already asked if she can stay home.
I asked why?
She hates Valentine’s Day.
She’s 14 and a freshman in high school.
I so get it.
It can be a tough day for girls and it starts early in age, remembering back when I was in grade school. Several days before the BIG day I would sit at my desk, cut out hearts from red and pink construction paper and decorate my white paper bag, all the while day dreaming about the secret admirers who were going to finally show their face in the form of a Valentine. Right… Back in those days we were not required to give one to everybody. Back in those days when the teacher told “Bobby” to take his cards to the wall of hanging bags, he could put in as many or as few as he wanted. Did he pass my bag? You bet he did. By the time my daughter was in elementary school EVERY child received a valentine or no one did. They weren’t even allowed to sign their names. Love was abundant and anonymous.
My luck did not fare any better in middle school. By then we were through with classroom parties and subtle humiliation in the form of a half full party bag, but the “coupling” had begun. From 6th through 8th grade I was sure I was going to be presented with a cute stuffed bear or a box of chocolates from someone. I was. It was my dad. Sure, it was nice, but I did not get the satisfaction of making all of my friends jealous while I walked around at lunch bearing gifts from a boy.
In high school I sat on the edge of my chair while the cheerleaders delivered pink carnations each period to the lucky young men and women on the A list. I might have actually attended all of my classes that day and I went home empty handed four years running. They do something similar in high school today in the form of a “Candy-gram” and my sweet little gal wants nothing to do with it. I really can’t blame her.
Valentine’s Day is a manufactured holiday that hits the stores before we are through wishing everyone Happy New Year! Jewelry stores take down the tinsel in the windows and replace it with red foil hearts. Florists are preparing for one of their biggest days of the year. Restaurants are putting together “special” menus. When I worked in a Hallmark Store, the aisle that held the Valentines would be two an three deep with men jockeying for position, trying to find the perfect sentiment for several days before. As the big day neared the perfect sentiments would get picked through and desperate men had to settle. The men that rolled in on the actual day itself were lucky they weren’t walking out with, “Love form the Dog”.
What is is about Valentine’s Day that gets us all worked up? I admit it…I am looking forward to the card and flowers. I am anxious to see what my older daughter’s boyfriend does for her. It will be fun to hear how all of my girlfriend’s husbands come through. Maybe it’s the fact that it is one day a year that we get to be wooed and courted again. We know it’s coming…but it’s nice.
This year I will tell my daughter I will be her Valentine. I will shower her with kisses and heart shaped brownies. I will remind her that my best Valentine came later in life. I will remind her that is is better to go it alone until someone special comes along. (Hopefully not for a few years). Someday she will get more pink carnations, heart shaped chocolates and little stuffed bears than she can possibly handle.
I still bet she wakes up with a sore throat.