Gremlin and I spent this afternoon volunteering in HRH's class. We helped the kids decorate their brown paper bag Valentine Holder Bags, watched as the kids distributed their cards, read Valentine-related stories, and cleaned up. I love how truly excited the kids get over their little die-cut valentines; lots of Star Wars from the boys, lots of Disney princesses from the girls, a few really cool, homemade ones (not from my kid).
The ritual itself really hasn't changed that much in the *cough* thirty+ years *cough* since I performed it. Each year, I can't help but think of the best, worst Valentine's story I ever heard. My friend, David's.
Back in grammar school, David's teacher sent home the requisite list of names for every kid in the class. The night before Valentine's Day, each child conscientiously wrote out their Scooby Doo/Holly Hobby card for each of their classmates, alphabetically, according to the list.
The next day, the children took turns walking up and down the rows of the classroom depositing a valentine on each desk...or almost every desk.
As the valentine piles on every other child's desk grew, David shrank lower and lower in his seat. His teacher, conversely became more and more agitated, frantically searching for the list of names sent home. Sure enough, David's name had been omitted from the list.
In her vain attempt to correct her error, his teacher then had each child select one card from his or her pile to present David with a second hand, name-scratched-out valentine.
David's okay now. Surprisingly not a serial killer but a rather accomplished Harvard grad, living his life with his beautiful, intelligent, younger wife - and a great group of dear friends, who mock him mercilessly every February 14th. He laughs too. As he puts it, Charlie Brown ended up with the little red headed girl after all.