Valentine's Day is one of the most challenging days of the year at any age. When you're a kid at school, it's the popularity contest of who will get the most cards. When you're in the throes of teen angst and you are desperately hoping your crush will take advantage of the most romantic day of the year to return your love. When you're in a new relationship and you don't know just how far to take the romantic overtures. When you've been married for years and you both agree not to do anything on this crass, commercial excuse for a holiday but then one of you brings home flowers and the other doesn't. Or if you're single and wishing you had someone special to share the day with.
Personally I've always felt it's more important for the one you love to demonstrate romance on a regular basis than on one day of the year. My husband and I usually celebrate with hugs and kisses and the odd giant Toblerone bar. That's about it. And since my son's birthday falls a day before Valentine's Day, we put more of an emphasis on that celebration now.
However this year, I really fell flat on my face when I screwed up at daycare. Let me explain. It's become something of a thing that at every holiday, the parents give little presents to the other kids in their child's class. I missed the boat at Halloween when one mother gave all the kids toothbrushes. But at least I wasn't the only one. So at Christmas I gave each kid a little gift bag with some fun stuff in it. I really didn't think Valentine's Day was major enough to warrant more than the traditional little cards. Boy was I wrong.
When I dropped my son off and went to place our dinky little cards in each kid's cubby, I found a pile of goodies in my son's cubby. Shit. With no time to run out and get gifts for the kids I resigned myself to placing the lame cards in each box, noting the plethora of matchbox cars, play dough, stickers and bubbles, all wrapped up with cute Valentine themed packaging. Clearly I was the clueless mom this time.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to compete with the other parents. I just felt terrible that my son came home with tons of loot without giving anything in return. I guess I just didn't think that at two years old, this was something important. I mean, let's face it, these kids have no idea what any of is about. It's the unwritten rules that are sometimes the hardest to follow. And apparently Valentine's Day is a big deal with the preschool set. It's not like I didn't walk by the Valentine's displays at Wal Mart a hundred times in the past month. I just didn't think it mattered. It does. Is it all a little overboard? Probably. But when I'm the only one who doesn't do something, I definitely feel like the biggest loser.
So I apologize to my son's classmates and I promise to make it up to them at Easter and heck, just for good measure, at St Patrick's Day too!
As I swallowed my pride and wrote thank you notes to the other parents, I hoped they wouldn't judge me and silently promised to do better next time.