Dear friends, I’ll be taking a short break from all things technological for the next ten days or so. See you here when I get back. Meanwhile…
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the last couple of years. Friends call a day or two before Valentine’s Day, stressed out. “I have to make 30 Valentines by tomorrow, and I don’t even have the ‘stuff!’ What do I do? Do you know a simple Valentine pattern? Help!” (Multiply 30 x the number of school-aged kids in the family for total Valentines needed.) One friend’s Facebook update last February 13th read: “Midnight. 60 Valentines done, 30 to go, shoot me now!” Even Claire last year, when she had a big science project coming due and needed to practice cello, exclaimed one day, “Oh my gosh mommy, when are we going to make Valnetines?” with a note of anxiety in her voice. This can’t be right, and it’s definitely not what “handmade” should be about.
Modern Valentine’s Day is a corporate manufactured celebration that might be considered optional for adults. But it’s different for kids–the exchange of Valentines at a school party, all of them dropped into decorated desktop boxes–is a highlight of the year. Remember all the tiny heart-and-animal cards with the bad puns? “You’re Purrrfect, Valentine,” and the squirrel who says “I’m Nuts for You?” They’re still out there. Kids love to make Valentines–until they’ve made about five of them. Then they’re often bored (and someone has to make the rest…). I’m certainly not arguing that we should all buy our kids’ Valentines, I’m just saying this: If it brings you and your kids joy, then get out the basket of scissors and paper and glue, and have fun. But if it brings you stress, then good heavens, store-bought Valentines are not a crime. Put up your feet, have a nice heart-shaped piece of chocolate, and feel the love that surrounds us all, whether we “get it all done,” or not.
See you in ten days.
Thanks to Flickr user RavenForLenore for the CC-licensed heart potato image.