I know classroom celebrations of Valentine’s Day are annoying. Buying 25 cards. Getting our kids to sign every single one. Seeing other parents go way overboard or judging a family for not hand-making every cards to go with a fancy gift basket of organic bamboo.
I read the articles and hear the parents mocking them, but when my kids come home with a card from every classmate that has only words of love and kindness… when they light up as we read each one from their closest friend to their frenemy to the one kid with which they desperately wish they were besties… well, I would do Valentine’s Day cards every day if I could.
In the past, both my children had school years where they were not popular. Where they were left out because they didn’t have whatever “it” is in school that particular year or because the moms, who were all friends, didn’t want another friend along. Or because it was just my kids’ turn to be on the outside looking in at friends going off to birthdays parties and play dates without them. It broke my heart, and while I tried to make nice and to encourage camaraderie, I could not stop the mean words on the playground or refusals to include the kids.
However, I could always count on one day where everyone was included. And accepted. Where everyone had to give a card to everyone else and my kids came home feeling full of joy and sparkling in way we missed during that terrible year. Valentine’s Day made them feel okay again, and I could believe the difficult year would not last forever — just as the year I was teased and mocked in school did not last forever.
I don’t love Valentine’s Day for me. My husband expresses his love for me all the time. I love Valentine’s Day for leveling the playing field, for giving children day where everyone’s bucket is full, for the demand of kindness. I can’t wait to celebrate Valentine’s Day again so whichever kid is having a hard time in school this year — the year my kids are having a ball with their friends — so that kid can come home feeling loved by every classmate in the way they deserve.