We've never been big on Valentines Day around here. Back in college, a friend of ours dubbed it "Jerk Appreciation Day," and ever since we've never made a big deal about it one way or the other. I always figured there were two ways to look at Valentines Day: either be all mushy-gushy about it and be one of the 6 million people who get engaged (I heard that statistic today, though I don't know if it's true), OR be a total cynic and gripe about how it's just an excuse for Hallmark and Victoria's Secret to widen their profit margins.
Since my kids started school, I've discovered there is a Third Path. Valentines Day is really all about the children, you see. At the elementary level, where kids are too young to know much about romantic love (one hopes, at least), Valentines Day is a celebration of friendship. Instead of anticipating a nice evening out with my spouse, I spent the week making heart-shaped cards with googly eyes for Anya's class and taping Hershey's kisses inside shiny red origami boxes that I folded myself because Daniel couldn't handle it. And while it's not like I am not so über-crafty that I have to hand make everything my kids bring to school, I still couldn't quite stomach the thought of buying the Star Wars/Angry Birds/SpongeBob themed valentines available in the store. We're surrounded by enough branding as it is. If my kid is going to hand out something that is going to get pitched in a few hours, George Lucas ain't gonna profit from it, is all I'm saying.
Where was I? Oh yes. Valentines. Here, Valentines Day corresponds with the 100th day of school (roughly - we missed a few days due to extreme cold, so there is some wiggle room for determining the actual 100th day) and with February 14 falling on a Friday, today was basically a free pass for the kids. Last night, Anya was so excited she could hardly sleep - "Mom, we're going to have a party all day at school tomorrow!!" - until I insisted that with all that partying she was going to need a good night's sleep to be ready for it. Ah, the innocence of Kindergarten. As a second-grader, Daniel is already such a seasoned veteran of in-school parties, he was mostly thinking about all the candy he was going to bring home. Alas, one kid in his class went a little nuts with the treats and had to go throw up (he made it to the bathroom, thank goodness) before coming back to open his valentine candy.
There were plenty of parent volunteers in both my kids' classes today. Not one of them had special plans for the evening, as far as I could tell. Just about everyone I talked to was looking forward to getting PJs on and watching a rented movie. One guy I talked to said his wife has a standing ladies' night out every Friday with her girlfriends and she saw no reason to skip it tonight. My own husband is out playing foosball with a work buddy, so I'm parked in front of Blogger with a beer and a couple of Girl Scout cookies and you know what? I'm not complaining. Anything more would just be too much effort anyway.
Happy Valentines Day, everyone! However you celebrate - or not - I hope someone made you feel special today.