Two Bigger Now…Now, Too Big

When swimsuits and plastic pools line Target’s shelves while snow is still melting on the ground, I scarcely notice.

When pre-lit Christmas trees and inflatable reindeer debut in Walmart weeks before Halloween, I stay silent amidst the condemning Facebook fray. (Truth told I have to squelch a smile. If you’re curious who’s hitting the button that makes the mechanical Santa sing ad nauseam, it’s me.)

Typically, premature holiday celebration pleases me…a lot.

But this year—this year—is different.

On a last minute, Scotch tape-seeking mission to the Dollar Tree this past Christmas Eve, I saw them: Valentines for the 2014 season.

Disney Princesses. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. My Little Pony. SpongeBob SquarePants. Seasonal pencils. Colorful, themed erasers. Conversation hearts.

This year—this year—my not-so-paper heart is breaking just a little bit.

Middle school marks maturation.

No decorating shoeboxes. No magic-markered paper bags tacked to the in-class bulletin board. No tiny envelopes way too small to mail.

No deliberation over which card is the perfect card for each special friend. No asking the teacher for the most-up-to-date list of all classmates in order to dodge the horror of hurt feelings.

No cupcakes. No cookies. No candy. No night-before-the-class-party teacher-emailed requests to please bring baby carrots in order to “balance” the predictable proliferation of sugar.

None of it. We’re 12. We’re done—at least in the way to which I had grown accustomed—and until now never quite realized, extraordinarily fond.

This year, for the first time, each of our tween twins is contemplating sending a single sentimental greeting to his/her own select recipient…with no holiday motif pencil threaded through the card or temporary tattoo enclosed. Viva l’amour adolescent.

This year, for the twelfth time, I’m hanging their home-based, heart-bedecked bags from the hooks their holiday stockings just vacated. Call me Tevye.

As our sweethearts continue to grow, our celebrations will continue to evolve*…but for now, this Mama Cupid isn’t quite ready to stop stoking their Valentine sacks with wee little cards and dentist-daunting quantities of candy.

(*And yes, it’s beyond safe to assume leprechauns will be peeing green in our toilets next month….)