When I got the email from school saying that the kids would all be having a Valentine’s Day party and to please bring snacks and Valentines for everyone, I had to first confirm with our teacher that it meant us too. I mean, the older kids, sure, but the toddlers too? So I signed up to bring chips and stopped at the store on the way home to grab a box of Valentines.
I have to admit that I felt like a total boob when buying the Valentines. I stood in front of the 10 possible choices for too long assessing which ones were the most acceptable. The ones with princesses? Too girly. The ones with temporary tattoos? The parents would love that. The ones with stickers on them? Let’s not get too crazy, most of the kids in June’s class aren’t even two yet. So I bought some plain little Mickey Mouse ones and brought them home and promptly forgot about them until 30 minutes before I was set to be out the door on Valentine’s Day morning. At that time, I scribbled June’s name on them and threw them in a sandwich bag, grabbed the Sun Chips and left. I thought I was so clever to send her to school in a pink shirt.
And then I got to school.
One girl had a formal Valentine’s dress on complete with lace and bows. A boy wore slacks and a red sweater vest. Three kids had special Valentine shirts on. I went over to the table with the bulging reusable grocery bags so I could set down my snacks with everyone else’s. I peeked in the bags.
They were not snacks, they were the Valentines.
One person had brought little heart-shaped boxes with teddy bears in each of them. One person had sixteen plastic measuring cups, each filled with candy and trinkets and paper and ribbon. I glanced down at my little cardboard Mickey Mouse Valentines. Suddenly I didn’t seem as advanced for managing to put a little heart-shaped sticker on each of them.
I propped my little plastic bag of paper against the bulging sack of wonders and decided to consider the whole thing hilarious instead of embarrassing.
I'm not sure that I'll ever be the mom sending her kids to school with homemade fun packs, but I have learned my lesson. Next year June's classmates will be covered head-to-toe in stickers and temporary tattoos and I will be redeemed. Oh yes, I will be redeemed.