Well yee-haw, it’s Valentine’s Day, popularly known as Valenday around here due to a childish mispronunciation by Darling Daughter at age 3 or so. This being a Saturday this year, all the school festivities took place yesterday.
I don’t know why it is, but Valentine’s Day is probably THE holiday of the elementary school set, and it’s not even a proper holiday. Kids ADORE this day, and breathlessly await the inevitable afternoon party, where they can gorge themselves on cookies, cakes, candy, and chips while carefully avoiding the token veggies with dip and the fruit plate. They joyously rip open their carefully crafted valentine boxes or envelopes to ooh and aah at all the cards they have received, without ever wondering how many trees it took to fabricate all those slips of paper which will be tossed into the recycling bin by – oh, let’s say Sunday evening because the recycling truck picks up on Monday morning.
In my school, I am the French Language Arts specialist (ha!) so I don’t enroll my own class. I do visit all the classes from Kindergarten to Grade 7, designing language arts programming for kids who need extra help, or working with small groups of kids to improve their reading or writing skills. So I didn’t organize a party in my classroom. This meant that if I wanted Valentine goodies, I had to go get them.
My first stop was in the morning Kindergarten class. They had lots of good stuff, but they had just started to stuff themselves, so I couldn’t in good conscience grab any of the pink mini-cupcakes or cookies that were calling my name because I wasn’t sure if every kid had had theirs yet. So I only took some fruit (nobody was touching that) and a handful of Doritos. I wasn’t too dismayed, though. The afternoon was yet to come.
There wasn’t a whole lot in the Grade 2 class by the time I got there late in the afternoon, except some leftover juice. Apparently they’d had their goodies in the morning, and their teacher had discouraged junk food anyway, so there hadn’t been much to begin with.
Next door was the Grade 5 class. Now, they had a whack of stuff! I coveted the heart-shaped cookies with two colours of icing, and the ubiquitous pink cupcakes (regulation size this time) were also calling my name. I circled the table slowly, and when the teacher looked at me questioningly, I told her that I would really like a cupcake. She said, “No.”
“No”? What is this word “no”? Well, she actually said, “Non” because we were speaking French, but the intent was the same. I was not going to get a cupcake. I suppose they were waiting right till the end of the day to divvy up the spoils. I begged and pleaded with her (Just a little. I have my dignity to maintain, after all.). She finally offered me two measly candies. I took them. I left.
I needed to recoup. Those candies just didn’t do it for me. I headed for the staff room, which was actually pretty tidy that afternoon. (Just two cups on the counter since Wednesday. I will dispose of them on Monday morning.) There was a paper plate on one of the tables. The plate contained a white chocolate dipped strawberry. I scarfed it down. The strawberry had no taste, being out of season. I don’t really like white chocolate.
I then recalled that in the back of my classroom cupboard I had a small cache of chocolate. It’s emergency chocolate for days when nothing but chocolate will make me feel better. (You would be surprised at the number of teachers who do this. It’s mostly the women. I think the men have a secret liquor cache.) I pulled out the bag. There were six Hershey’s Kisses in it. I ate three of them. Then I ate the rest of them. Then the bell rang.
That was yesterday. Today, there have been no Valentine goodies either. PG will likely not provide any for me, because he resents the whole obligation part of Valentine’s Day and he prefers to surprise me with flowers or champagne or chocolate at odd times throughout the year. And just so you know, I’m fine with this, and all we usually do for Valentine’s Day is exchange little notes or simple cards.
However, he and I are going out to play Trivial Pursuit tonight with a bunch of people that I don’t know very well. Maybe there will be Valentine cupcakes. Maybe I will be able to satisfy my Valentine cravings there. Maybe I will eat so much that they won’t invite me back.