Shadows of Valentines Past
I loved Valentine’s Day as a child. Then I got older and started to dislike it – greatly. Then I was luke warm towards it. Now, I love it. I adore it.
Today I have Valentine memories floating around in my head and as I stop to take a look, I realize I no longer cringe at them. They make me laugh, mostly. Here, come have chuckle at my expense.
2nd grade: I had the coolest package of Valentine cards where you could assemble them so that parts moved. For example, I had one where a boy was giving a girl flowers, and you could move the flowers back and forth. This one was the best one. This one I saved for my biggest Crush. I sat in my bedroom, at my desk imagining how I would give it to him. The next day, with my boy-crazy friend, Shannon, giggling at my side, we walked up to the Crush, handed him the card and walked away. He said nothing. By afternoon recess I was so over him. He didn’t say anything! No reciprocation. Unbelievable. I remember walking up to him, again, with Shannon at my side, and I don’t know what I said but I held my head high, let him know I had moved on. He still said nothing. What a waste of an awesome card.
4th grade: Another crush. These were the days where you checked your cards to make sure you didn’t give any boys the wrong idea (you know, the Lisa Simpson debacle when she gave Ralph Wiggum the “I choo choo choose you” valentine – those fiascos need to be avoided). And, I’m sure boys felt the same way. However, I did save the best card for my Crush. And it turned out, this crush went out of his way to give me some Big Red gum. None of the other girls in the class got any Big Red gum…in a special envelope…..with a special note. However, after school, I discovered that my friend, Teri, also received the same kind of package from the same boy. Perhaps this is where the seeds of Valentine resentment were planted.
6th grade: A boy named Robert spent all year flirting with me. I didn’t like him like “that” although he always made me laugh. On Valentine’s, in homeroom, he kept giving me conversation hearts with special messages. I turned him down. I don’t remember how, I don’t know what I said. I was probably snotty and mean. If I could go back in time and punch myself in the face for that one, I would, because before the bell rang, Robert was no longer sitting at his desk. He was under it.
Jr High: Every year the Jr. National Honor Society or the Jr. Key Club or one of those respectable clubs would sell carnations. You could buy one for, I don’t know, $.50 or $1.00, with a message, and it would be delivered to the recipient’s classroom on Valentine’s Day. I was happy to receive five. I was elated to receive 10 (I don’t know how many I got). But, once you entered the hallway with your bundle of flowers, the popularity contest was in full swing. The girl with the most carnations walked those corridors with her garden of love and messages and the crowd would part like the Red Sea, gawking at her spoils. Were these all from boys? How many were from just her girl pals? You wondered and you envied as she floated by (and even got her picture taken for the year book). Aaah, Jr. High, you are such a strange place.
High school: I honestly cannot remember my high school Valentine Days and this could be either because they were just plain boring, or, they were terrible and need to be blocked. I have no idea. Actually, I do have one memory. I got a card from another Crush that said “Cupid is Stupid”. It also had candy and some cherry chapstick attached. I loved that Cherry Chapstick. The card made me giggle. That was enough for me. I’m pretty sure that the same Crush handed out similar valentines to other girls who he knew liked him. You see this motif popping up again and again.
Freshman year of college: I painted black hearts and hung them up outside our dorm room the week before Valentine’s. I don’t know if my roommates appreciated this. A girl, who lived in the basement came up to visit us. As I sat on the brownish linoleum, she watched me paint the black hearts and then said “you are so cool” whilst something like “The Smiths” played in the background. She creeped me out and then I questioned my actions for a little bit, but I continued in my tongue-in-cheek display of being a jilted Valentine. On the actual day there was a knock on the door by a boy, dressed as a big pink bunny rabbit, who came to see why this apartment was so anti-valentine. I laughed, hard.
Sophomore year of college: I had a date with a boy who gave me a puzzle Valentine for a dance earlier in the week. He was cute, funny, and charming. We were about to go out when the phone rang. It was my old boyfriend. For some strange reason I allowed for a conversation. He said things like “Just called to see how you’re doing.” No “Happy Valentines” or anything to indicate that day of celebration because that just wasn’t his style. I wanted to be petty and say “I’m on a date.” But then I didn’t want to be petty. But then I wanted to be petty (back and forth, back and forth)… I was uncomfortable listening to him while looking at my date. Again, if I could go back in time to fix my behavior, I would. Except instead of punches, they would be quick slaps, back and forth across the face. (Hang up the phone!)
Senior year of college: I had grown up a bit. I’d even lived and served abroad for a year and a half. I wasn’t quite so self absorbed (or I’d like to think so anyway). I had learned to not care about Valentines…..until…..a boy. I had been crushing on him for a while. He left me a big Gerber Daisy with a note on our doorstep. It said, “Thanks for being such a great friend, Love (I seriously am unsure of the name)”. How great! I got a daisy from my crush! But wait, “such a great friend”? What did that mean? I realized, later that he had sent similar flowers to other girls. You see this theme, right? There really was no escaping it. That same night my now husband, then friend, found out about the daisy and made fun of it. He also made me a Valentine that looked like a booty-crack over some jeans, but when you opened it, it was a heart. Funny. (I discovered, after our marriage, that he had made the exact same valentine for another girl while in high school….sheesh, I can NOT get a break, can I?)
Today: I sent my children off to school with treats for a party, and valentine cards and lollipops with lips and mustaches attached for their friends. They had no expectations of crushes, romance, or feeling special by someone else (as far as I can tell, anyway). Tonight we will go to a friend’s house for Crepes (french things are always appropriate today, no?). Yesterday we had a pink and red dinner. And sometime soon, the Valentine Lady will visit. I love these moments oh so much more. And for the record, Cupid is not Stupid.
When and if they need it, I can’t wait to share my ridiculous Valentine shenanigans with my Chunks. But, perhaps they will be better at this stuff than I was.
*photo credit:by Daniela Arrais on flickr.com
So, what are your favorite/least favorite Valentine memories?