Oh how I loved making my heart shaped mailbox, hanging it from my desk and watching it become fat with valentine notes from my friends. There was always the hope that you'd get a special valentine from your special Valentine. Although, if you were like me, you'd die before admitting you even wanted a special Valentine. I remember reading every valentine and reading into every valentine. It was clear when someone chose one just for you: "you make my heart race, Valentine". That couldn't be an accident, right? I know I chose my valentines VERY carefully. If I wanted someone to know how I felt about them, good, bad or indifferent, I'd have to choose just the right message.
I still have some of my favorite valentines. There is a Snoopy one from David McMillan. It is a big sticker and therefore stood out from a crowd of simple paper valentines. I have some handmade ones from kids I used to babysit. I have the ones my friends Heather and Shannon sent to me when we were lonely teenagers, wishing a boy would send us a Valentine instead of our girlfriends. Of course I have lots from my favorite Valentine.
I don't remember all the details of the party, but some stand out. I made heart shaped sugar cookies with red sprinkles for the guests to eat. I planned a craft. When the boys wanted to go outside and jump on a mattress we had in the backyard, I was frustrated they were not following my party agenda. (No we weren't hillbillies. I don't know why the mattress was out there.) Ironically, I don't remember the valentine exchange at all.
This year, when James mentioned giving out valentines to his friends, I realized I wanted the boys to have a chance to fill thier mailboxes with special notes. So I planned a party. Every kid brought a shoebox and some valentines. The shoebox was decorated and a mail slot cut in it, turning it into a mailbox. We then took the kids outside to exchange valentines. Of course, since none of the kids could read, it was rather chaotic as the mamas tried to tell each child whose valentine was whose and whose mailbox was whose and not to read them yet, keep passing them out and don't open that lollipop yet and no I can't read it this second, just look at the picture. It was fun.
After everyone had a box full of notes, the kids sat down to "read" their valentines. For the boys, this lasted several minutes. Then it was back to the toys, the running around and the crashing of cars. Boys often miss the deep meaning attached to valentine cards. The girls, however, carried their boxes around for the rest of the party. And, if they are anything like me, they are probably driving their moms crazy by wanting to hang onto those beautiful mailboxes, stuffed full of pieces of precious paper.
Obviously, I still love Valentines Day. Isn't it nice to have a chance to tell people that you normally might not tell that they, "Arrrrgh the best Valentine!" (from a pirate valentine) It looks like I have passed on my love of party planning and Valentines Day to my boys, because they are already planning next year's bash. They both think we should put candy in our valentines. They also wanted to know what the next holiday is so we can plan that party too. Easter egg hunt anyone?