Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shining Star

I inititally wanted to write this post on Valentine's Day but some sort of illness hit me like a ton of bricks over the weekend and haulted all activity. My plans of making our usual romantic dinner and surprising J with some sort of fun gift all went out the window as I was hugging a tissue box, full of cold and sinus medicine and so stuffy and feverish that nobody wanted to come near me. Instead, I closed myself off in our guest room area with my tissues, bottles of water, non-stop Sex and The City on tv and lots of sleep.

In my ever changing moods I still view Valentine's Day as one of the sweetest times around. Yes, I know, I hear the naysayers all around me calling it a Hallmark Holiday, a media coup to rake in money (and really, would that be so bad for the economy? Making money from love?) Or, that Valentine's Day is for the young or those in sappy relationships. I don't buy into this way of thinking. I think that the day is sweet and I like to celebrate it.

I know that my obsession started way back in Kindergarten when you are told to go home and make a Valentine box. kind of concept but, okay. I remember taking a cereal box and getting started. Some kids used shoe boxes, some used oatmeal cylinder boxes, I used a cereal box. This was in 1970 so I have no idea what kids are doing, now. But, back then, you made really elaborate, colorful boxes. I liked to cover mine in tin foil. Then, I cut out all kinds of pink, red and white paper hearts and glued them all over. I mean, how bad can a holiday be if it uses the color pink? I remember being so proud of my Valentine box and carrying into class on Valentine's Day was almost euphoric. I was an odd kid and these are the things that excited me.

In my class, the teacher had all of us line our decorated boxes up and then we were all to go, in a line, and deposit our cards into the openings of the boxes. Again, I must stress that these were simpler times and everything wasn't fair or politically correct and not everyone emerged as a winner or with a prize. So, back then, you were not required to bring a Valentine for every single classmate. I know, it sounds cruel, but that is how my generation learned to navigate life. The hard cold facts of life. Not everyone won, not everyone was going to receive a Valentine. With that being said, I was a kind hearted kid and did give everyone a Valentine. I am not just saying that to make myself look good. I really did have a soft spot for everyone.

Anyway, you were not permitted to open your Valentine box until you got home. Back then, Kindergarten only last until noon and your mother picked you up so basically, you could start ripping into the box as soon as you got in the car. I chose to wait until I got home and very methodically took out each card. I was a nervous wreck because the amount of cards you received would very well tell you the social standing and where you fit in. I was a wreck. Also, you hoped that maybe the cute boy that helped you build a block house had given you a card.

My first Valentine Box revealed many cards, some with candy in them, some with early attempts as love letters, some asking me to be a best friend. I remember beaming with pride at my first real Valentine's Day.

Sure, after elementary school, you stopped making the pretty boxes and once high school hit, Valentine's Day took on almost a stalker like mission to make sure you even had a boyfriend for Valentine's Day. You could drop them, after, but by were going to have a Valentine.

Anyway, I am still a kid when Valentine's Day hits. I love the hearts, the pink colors, the boxes of character cards that will be tucked into whatever kids use, now, and taken home and hopefully looked at as carefully as I looked at my first Valentine cards. It is a day of whimsy, a day of cheesey love songs, a day that makes it seem like love really could rule the world. It is a day that is like a shining star in the dead of winter.

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