Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My "I Hate Valentine's Day" Post

Yup, I'm one of those. I hate Valentine's Day. Well, perhaps resent is a better word. I resent the emphasis placed on showing people you love them on this one day. Particularly with couple-y people. Who really can show their damn affection any old day, so why do we have to have this one day that spotlights those people who are NOT in a relationship?????? Like, maybe, we don't already realize this? And so it's sort of a public service, having an entire holiday, including the several-week buildup, to advertise that you are ALL ALONE. And that you will NOT be receiving cards, flowers, candy, jewelry (particularly diamonds), romantic dinners, backrubs OR massages, secretly planned trips to exotic locales, OR SEX. (and hey, let's not even get STARTED about the lucky individuals who have Valentine's Day as an ANNIVERSARY of the last time they had sex. FOUR YEARS AGO.) 'Cause you know, I must have somehow forgotten that. Thanks for the heads-up.

And it starts so damn young. At my kids' elementary school (grades K-8) they have Carnation Day AND Candygram Day on Valentine's. Do y'all remember those from junior high and high school? And what a horrible, horrible day it was then? Because all day long, you kept hoping and praying that maybe you would be one of the girls (or guys, I dunno, do guys care as much about that? speak up, please!) who would get a delivery, in front of the entire class. And all day long, each and every time one of the delivery people showed up, it was never for you. And so your heart sunk a little more each time, until by the end of the day you were in this nice deep black depression. Because the freakin' TEACHER got more than you did. And there were always these girls who would have to have someone else carrying their books because they had double armsful of flowers that they could barely see over. But you? Nada.

And now my kids are fortunate enough to experience this for themselves. And if I thought it was awful when it was happening to me, it's doubly worse when it's my kids. I bought each of them a candygram because I couldn't tolerate the idea that they were going to be one of the kids who got nothing while all their friends got stuff. It just tears me up inside to think about my kids feeling that rejection. Kira is in FIRST GRADE!!! And when I went in yesterday for Brownies, yes, there were kids who had handsful of flowers, multiple candygrams. Thank goodness my little girl got at least one. Although it makes me sad, too, knowing that if her mom hadn't gotten her one, she wouldn't have gotten anything.

[side note here: we're having a snowstorm, so the school delivered all the flowers and candy yesterday since we were pretty sure there wouldn't be school today. It's usually done on V-Day.]

I hate how I have felt dragged into this participation because of an attempt to save my kids' feelings. And at the lower grade level, a lot of the candy and flowers are ordered for the kids by the parents. You know ahead of time which kids are going to have tons of flowers, because their parents feed into all this stuff, and order it all for their kids. And I hate doing a "keep up with the Joneses" thing, but it brings out a huge competitive streak in me, that somehow I am letting slide an opportunity to show people that I love my kids JUST as much as they love theirs, cause LOOK! I spent $18 to give my kid a dozen half-dead flowers that will have broken stems by lunchtime, or I spent $1 to give them five Hershey's kisses with a note. Because you know having that delivered to them in front of people makes it SO much more special than putting it in their lunchbox.

Why on earth are we doing this to our kids? Why are we teaching them that love is expressed in public displays, in things bought for them and waved in front of other people? Why are we not teaching empathy? What about the kids who get nothing? Why does it have to be more and more and bigger and flashier? When the kids bring in valentines, they are taught that they need to have a card for every person in the class. That's great. Share the love. Enjoy the party, the goodies, make crafts, etc etc. But as soon as we introduce this other element, this "some will get and some will not" display, which is done right in front of everyone, it counteracts everything. What possible benefit to our kids? What possible harm?

Yeah, I'm bitter. Maybe I would feel differently if I had been one of the kids who got tons of flowers and stuff in school. If I had been "popular." If I could afford to spend money on gratuitous displays that are about not having my child feel left out or bad about themselves (and you are kidding yourself if you think that doesn't happen...that it's all in good fun...there are tears over this stuff).

And so today, here it is. The actual hated day. And it's a blizzard outside, and the kids are with X, and I am even more solidly alone. And there will be no candy, no flowers, no gifts, no cards, no hugs, no kisses, surely no sex, no affection, no dinners or candles or jewelry or trips or surprises. No love.

Happy Freakin' Day. mk


Anonymous said...

Hey- I'm worried about you! Call me back!

Vemrion said...

You had me at "why do we have to... spotlight those people who are NOT in a relationship???"

Speak it, sister!!!

The Beast Mom said...

Yeah, those candy gram things are a pain in the butt or heart and wherever else. I don't think schools should be wasting their few hours doing stuff like that in the first place. It's not what school is for.

And the kids have enough ammo to one-up each other in other ways. Why give 'em more?

I don't honestly remember caring a whole lot about candy gram stuff during my school days because it was only the ditzy girls who gave them to each other with big showy squeals. The rest of us just stayed away from the nonsense for the most part even though we could've given them to our own friends. Maybe our school (or my class) was different that way. We had a particularly intelligent, ambitious group in my school and it was pretty ok/cool to be smart and success oriented. I was still a total nerd (don't get me wrong here - Was. Not. Popular.), but I didn't mind my nerdiness all that much, wasn't totally scarred by it or anything.

Once again, it's too bad you live so damn far away. My husband had to work tonight so you and I could've had dinner and a movie. But NOOOOOOOO, you have to go and reside OVER THERE where you probably can't even SEE over your snow glaciers by now! :)

Sorry, I had to yell that.

I would at LEAST make you an inexpensive, platonic, sexless Valentine's dinner if you lived HERE.

I know, I know, it's really hard to refuse THAT offer.

I'm bored.
Can you catch a flight?


mark said...

That sort of stuff didn't happen where I went to school. It was just the usual kids exchanging the cheap Valentines that came from the store with some candy attached/inserted whatever. The competition came in making the coolest box to receive your Valentines in. I know I'm a day late, but I hope you had a happy freakin' day too. Hang in there.