I am but one of the many voices joined in chorus each year at this time to bitch about this day. It is a manufactured holiday. It is a corporate scam created to get us to spend more money. It is a vast canyon of hurt for those who are alone or nursing a broken heart. Whatever it is, I’m sure you’ve heard it.
But I hate this holiday for a different reason. I hate it because it is the yearly battle called “You Will Sit in This Chair and Write Your Name 25 Times or You Will Hear About It, Mister!”
Each year, I start with the best of intentions. I remember the year before when so many kids created an adorable card or little craft and I want, want, want to do the same. I have visions of bringing my sons to the table and creating a sweet little something for each kid in the class. I want to sit and chat with them while we make something cute together. Doesn’t that sound lovely?
The problem is that my two crazy boys both hate anything involving paper, scissor, crayons, markers, glue (unless my younger son is gluing his feet to my living room floor), glitter, yarn, letters or numbers. As you can imagine, this makes creating Valentine’s Day cards difficult.
I wish I could just shoot each parent an email and they could show the screen to their kids when they get home. Hell, I’d rather hire a skywriter to say, “What Up Cricket Class! From, Nate.” I swear that would be easier than the near screaming match that took place in our house two nights ago.
It started out well enough. I gave up the idea of making our own Valentines. Instead, I tried to buy ones that I thought they would like in hopes of enticing them to sit their cans down and work on them.
I do have one tiny victory. We made a craft this year! We melted crayons into hearts and are giving those out with our cards. My husband was amazed! The boys didn’t argue and even wanted to help. I think it’s because it involved ripping off crayon wrappers and melting things. Whatever, I’ll take it.
But the actual writing of the names and stuffing of the envelopes was an ordeal just like it is each year. There were threats. There was stomping. Faces were red. There was a lot of harrumphing & yelling of the word “FINE!” in the cruel way that only Midwestern people have truly mastered.
When we were done, we all crawled into our beds. Spent. Exhausted.
And so, I say to any other mothers who have a similar experience ...
“What Up Mamas! From, Steph.” That’s the best you’re going to get out of me.
Stephanie Olson is a mother of two boys who lives and writes in Seattle. She believes her golden rule in parenting “Just wipe it off on your pants!” will be her epitaph someday. It has gotten us through pretty well thus far! Read more of Stephanie's work on her blog, Ma Swell Vie.