Never having been a fan of Valentines, it’s hard to get excited for it on behalf of my sweet, lovey girls who love to love Valentines day. The last couple of years I did pretty good I think but this year, groan, this year I just feel overwhelmed with it all.
The holiday has always been one giant commercial gimmick as far as I’m concerned, and every year it just seems more so. The kids don’t just exchange valentines cards these days, the cards have to come with candy, stickers, suckers, toys, etc. Forget cut-out heart handmade cards. No, todays handmade cards must look professionally made with 3D effects, punch-outs, borders and frills. Which would be okay if they were actually made by the children and not overtaken, fixed, or adjusted by the parents that be.
Back in the day, you were lucky to get a cookie that looked like a heart. Today we are cutting sandwiches into hearts, making cakes with heart patterns baked inside, making heart-shaped fruit kabobs, making heart braids, putting on heart tattoos, creating heart pizzas… And not just doing one of them, we are attempting ALL of them.
I’m asking myself this today.
I don’t say this to single out any of you who were doing it all. Some people truly find joy in being all crafty or entertaining or baking. But we need to stop feeling pressure to do any or all of it if it is not bringing us joy. I am not immune friends to the pressure to do more than I was happy with. Let me share what I did today.
This morning they got a book (because they get a book from Mom every holiday!), a movie, and an art craft that was supposed to be given at Christmas but found in a safe place only a couple weeks ago. They also got one little heart keychain attached to a tube of gumballs (which I replaced with fruit gummies and candy hearts leftover from last Valentines!)
Overkill? I don’t remember getting any presents from my Mom as a kid… Maybe a heart box of chocolates?
Yet still I have a case of Pint-e-guilt not having blown up hundreds of balloons or scattered the girls room in hearts or crafted anything with them, so last night I decide an elaborate pop-up giant heart card should be made. Then I have a glass of wine and turn House of Cards on Netflix and decide very quickly that a simple bunny card will do just fine, thank you very much. So I take out our favourite drawing book (which I love drawing from!) and create two bunny valentines special for my girls.
For me, that felt right. That felt doable. It felt done out of love, not out of obligation or over-achieving.
And sure enough, this morning, amidst the presents and candy, this simple card was the highlight. “Woa, mom, you took my felts and my book and you made these just for us?! Thank you!” Gushing.
Later, I drop them both off at school and having had a bad few days, was really in need of this quiet time to myself. Only Kaya’s teacher is pleading for parent helpers as none have volunteered. So I do.
Oh the hug my girl gives me when I enter her classroom after dropping Brennyn off. Listen, Kaya is not a hugger. But my showing up to her class to help out on this special day has made her day. I get hug after hug after hug. Not to mention glimmering wide eyes and enormous smile that never leaves her face. Not for any of the stuff I gave her, but for my presence. Physically and emotionally.
Every holiday just seems filled with more these days. More toys, more candy, more shopping, more elaborate this, more intricate that…
Simplifying. If only Pinterest and Facebook and kids at school and the aisles at the stores and the parent comparisons and the commercials and, and, and, didn’t make it so hard. Listen, I try to avoid the stores but a girl needs tampons or milk sometimes. I avoided Pinterest until guilt flooded in after reading a few too many Facebook updates. Yesterday I go on Pinterest in a desperate hope for a simple and fast craft I can do with girls, only to find that the ‘holiday’ boards are now filled with Easter crafts. Akkkk! Can I freakin get through this holiday first? Sigh…
So it is I make a heart lunch and sprinkly cupcakes. I do not craft my Valentines this year as getting my kids to just sign 20+ cards (each) is work enough. So I buy the cards and I buy the ones already discounted, since no one else is buying them. Which was totally cool because Kaya was thrilled with the vintage inspired cards to give to her classmates and Brennyn adored her dinosaur ones. Oh, I did crack and buy Angry Birds Space ones with bookmarks because Walmart holiday aisles are evil.
As usual, my kids teaching me what really matters.