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Sorry, Charlie. It's just a Valentine

Image courtesy the brilliant Asha Dornfest at Parenthacks. Click to read her full, smarty-pants post.We believe in store-bought Valentine cards around here, particularly to give to the class and mostly because I spent hours and hours crafting them during the preschool years only to be asked by my son if we could just get the floppy superhero kind the next year. And so it has been every February since I waved fabric-glued fingers as a yes to his sweet, glitter-felt ungrateful question.

Plus, Valentine's Day cards are $2.50 a box. And that's a good deal of time and hand-eye coordination saved. I will be honest, I kind of loved the crafty projects and I have four pink and red felt fortune cookies with kiddie Valentine sentiments and Hershey kisses tucked inside, all stashed away as a rememberance of how much more love I am capable of putting into class cards than the Despicable Me minions with a temporary tattoo can convey. 

Oh, and felt fortune cookies also aren't cool. I'm so not allowed to forget how important that part is, especially to a 9-year old with floppy hair and a teen-ready eyeroll. So Despicable Me minions it was. And sticky frog things that don't exactly stick to anything but definitely can't be scrubbed clean of lint, hair, food crumbs and staphylococcus bacteria. In a moment of mom guilt, I considered getting a pack of Rainbow Loom-ish glow-in-the-dark bands out of the Target value bins for every kid, but luckily didn't allow myself to completely forget that part, either -- that every Valentine is likely to sit in the bag it was sent home in until a mom sneakily tosses it seven months later. So, yes. Still with the minions, frogs and tattoos.

All of that short-cutting in no way means we didn't make the little baggie of cheap delights SPECIAL for each kid. I wrote their names in bubble letters and E decorated each card with a tiny doodle -- even the girls' cards. 

There were happy faces with tongues wagging, aliens, cars, ninjas. Oh, and then there was this one.



"What's that thing?" I asked as innocently as I could muster before I snapped 47 pictures of it and texted them to my mom friends, brother and the Not Boyfriend in the next room.

"Hm." He said that convincingly, although all of us - you and I and certainly my mother, a 30+ year teaching veteran who is wise to all kid antics before they even are dreamed up by the kid - know that he knows exactly what it is and is even more sure of what it turned out to look like despite any original intention. "A rocket."

He seemed pleased with the answer. Dare I say, it even sounded logical in the matter-of-fact way he said it. I left it at that. Because more than I wanted him to say, "Oh, yeah, I guess it does have a phallic quality, doesn't it?," I wanted that kid's mom to see that Valentine doodle and get a big old LOL out of it. Oh, kids. Kids and how they show their love.

But Charlie's mom will never see that rocket weiner and the subject will never be (umm) raised again and the hopeful LOLz will be a faint echo only in my own memory of the furiously busy night before Valentine's Day. Because that (and again) floppy card and its accompanying tattoo and sticky frog are still sitting in a bag with Charlie's name on it, in the front hallway of Charlie's family home. Untouched, unappreciated and unquestioned. At least until Fourth of July.


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