Sunday 11 Dec 2016

Watch Out Cupid
Jennifer Flaten

Friendship day is once again upon us, you might know it better as Valentine’s Day. Our school decided that friendship, not love, should be the focus of Valentine’s Day. You can’t honour anything at school without snacks.

Don’t worry even though the focus is friendship they still allow valentines. The kids spend ages deciding if the hamsters from G-force can properly convey their valentine wishes or if Scooby actually does it better.

After wiping out our local drug store’s selection of valentines, because one box is never enough yet, two is always too many. As I stagger out of the store with two shopping bags full of valentines, decorations and candy -- you try resisting three little “please mom“ machines – I wonder why valentine manufacturers persist in packaging 16 valentines per pack.

I find it hard to believe they don’t know that most schools cram at least 26 students in a classroom.

Oh well, after the kids are done addressing valentines to their classmates they will have a few extra valentines. Maybe after they address one to the dog, one to the cat and one to the post office worker, there might actually be one left for me.

Nah, I am know I am not going to get a store bought valentine. Instead, I am going to get a something handmade.

My best guess is a big, glitter-encrusted card. This is not just wild speculation, it grounds in sound intelligence work; the glue is missing and I can see the trail of glitter leading to the kid’s room.   

Now comes the fun part, addressing the cards. It is time to play ‘Why did they pick that name’. Okay, first the celebrity name sakes. Tallulah-that’s easy, the parents must be huge Bruce Willis and Demi Moore fans, next we have River. I bet that is a tribute to River Phoenix.

Ah, here is one I haven’t encountered before-Tesla. For that one, I am not sure if the parents are proclaiming their undying love for the inventor of the Tesla coil or homage to the 80s hair band. I don’t know which is better.

You don’t know fun until you’ve sat with a kid who instead of just grabbing the next valentine out of the box and addressing it, insists on personally selecting the “perfect” valentine, from the four varieties in the box, for each classmate.

Honestly, the Titanic sunk in less time.

With the cards addressed, we can tackle the all-important mailbox. In elementary school you just can’t hand your valentines out, oh no, you must slip them into an elaborately decorated box.

The box is then schlepped home, where the kid dumps it onto the living room floor and proceeds to read each valentine aloud, all 26.

The most coveted box is the shoebox, but those are hard to come by in this house. Any shoeboxes we do get, immediately become housing for the legion of stuffed animals we have littering the house.

Forced to convert a cereal box into a valentine holder, the kids cut, glue, glitter and weld, no, just kidding, the boxes into the perfect valentine repositories.

Now all we have to do is get the valentines, the boxes and the kids to school in one piece.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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