Valentine’s Day in school was always great fun. We would be asked to bring in a shoe box from home that we would then spend class time decorating, creating a mail slot at the top. And on the designated day, we were given time to distribute and receive small cards, many of which were homemade. (Nowadays, they are disappointing and cheap. I wonder if elementary students are even still allowed to participate in this practice.)
Valentine's often made my heart flutter in middle school. The stakes were much higher than a paper Valentine. One might find a flower in their locker, or a card dropped awkwardly on their desk. Valentines were a tad less platonic during those years.
Our high school generally scheduled a Sadie Hawkins dance around Valentine’s Day. It was a chance to buy a new dress, as well as to see how the other half lived when inviting someone on a date. But I think girls have a better sense of a sure thing, and would be less inclined to use this occasion to reach into a different dating stratosphere. Still, these were awkward invitations, and nothing at all like the prom-posals girls receive now. (I hate this new tradition. How can a girl say no to a well-planned, romantic and very public display?)
My parents resurrected the Valentine’s gifts when I was away at college. I used to look forward to the candy-scented care package that would come each year. Sometimes they even slipped in a small bit of cash. I tried to repay them this kindness when they spent their winters in Florida, sending them similar care packages each year. These would always contain gum drops, my Mom’s favorite, and a homemade Valentine, usually involving a paper doily and glitter.
My husband and I sometimes make each other Valentines and occasionally exchange small gifts and heart shaped boxes of chocolate. When our daughter was born, we upped our game for a while and enjoyed being the recipients of the sweet gifts she made in art class at school, gave her stuffed animals and dined on special dinners and heart-shaped desserts.
Valentine’s falls on a Saturday night this year. I don’t see us heading out to dinner to face the crowds and inflated prices. But I may just have to dust off the heart-shaped cake pan and see if anyone still sells doilies.