|Shira, sleep in the car, still clutching some of her Valentines.|
|A few peg dolls for my Valentines. Inspired, as always by We Bloom Here.|
|Just a selection of Valentines made for us by Alyce.|
|Alyce's homemade cards for all her school friends.|
I know Valentine's Day sparks anger and resentment among many. I get it, I really do. We don't need to spend a ton of money on cards, chocolates, toys, flowers, silly gifts, and the like, to let others know that we're sweet on them. We certainly don't need yet another reminder that our society privileges a certain kind of love. But at this point in my life I am surrounded by tiny people who adore Valentine's Day with such excitement and urgency that I refuse to stand in its way.
I know you don't need another blog telling you to make your life more difficult by making everything from scratch. You don't need to feel guilty (again) because you used store-bought vegetable stock in your soup. But if you'll allow this one simple suggestion: handmades for Valentine's can rock your world. There is nothing cynical about children slaving passionately over construction paper hearts and markers, tongues stuck out in deep concentration. And do you know what Alyce gave me for Valentine's day, in addition to no less than six homemade cards? A bracelet she found in her room. She loved giving it to me, and I loved receiving it.
In our house we make cards for every occasion. Is it a Tuesday? Make a card. Is our friend Kaylie coming over for lunch? Make her a card, too. Is it someone's birthday? Let's make ten. We keep a basket of the necessary tools on our table at all times (so that I'm not constantly fetching the scissors and glue at every turn) and we can make a card at a moment's notice. So a holiday devoted to extra card making? We're not going to turn that shit down.
Am I saying that store-bought cards are bad? Of course not. We love them! Alyce has a box of twenty-seven Valentine's Day cards from her school friends and most of those are from a store. She adores them (and sleeps with them in her bed), and we are grateful to receive well-wishes from a friend in any form. Please don't read this is a manifesto against The Store. But I am saying that if you are feeling awfully crabby and hopeless in the face of all the extra consumerism this week, stock up on some extra construction paper next year and stay away from the shops. Sit yourselves down and with some paper and glue (and some glitter if you're feeling especially brave), and make yourself a card.
And by all means, don't wait for Valentine's Day. Tuesday is coming up and if there's a better reason to make a card, I don't know it.
|My little sister and brother making hearts, Vancouver-style (thanks, Kate).|