Okay, fine. I’m one of those people who’s all jaded about Valentine’s Day. No need for justifications and rationalizations; you’ve heard them all already from everyone else. I’m just not a fan.
But when you have kids, you’re not allowed to not celebrate the holiday.
My parents always gave my sister and I each a card and a little box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Some years, my mom made a heart-shaped cake (we had a special pan) with pink frosting and candy hearts pressed into it.
This year I thought, why be all bah-humbug to cupid? I decided to make heart-shaped chocolate crackers for everyone at work, homemade bath sachets with eucalyptus for my writers group, and a heart-shaped cake with pink frosting and candy hearts pressed into the edges for the kids, even if I don’t have a special pan.
Then I remembered who I am.
There were lots of doctors appointments, significant snow, and a shitload of paperwork that had to get done right now. Instead of staying up late to bake, I stayed up late watching Iron Maiden’s Flight 666 and Rush Beyond the Lighted Stage.
Because they’re awesome. And I didn’t want to do my paperwork.
I had a work call and two shows the day before Valentine’s Day. The florist shop was out of eucalyptus. There was no baking. There was no crafting.
Let’s be honest: there never is any crafting.
Two days before Valentine’s day, I was in the city and went to the drug store for gifts and cards.
Doesn’t two days before Valentine’ Day seem like a good head start? You’d be shocked at how few cards the average drug store in New York carries for such a commercial holiday. You’d be even more shocked at how few are left by February 12.
You’re standing there with all the other poor bastards who also think that two days is a good head start, maneuvering for leverage in front of the two and a half feet of shelf space where the last twelve cards are.
I needed exactly half of them.
I found two semi-sappy cards that didn’t make me want to strangle kittens and set those aside for #2 and #3. I found three cards that were supposed to be funny but weren’t that I thought could be salvaged with written modifications.
(I was remembering a birthday card my assistant had given to me years ago. It was a truly awful rhyming birthday card that was supposed to be from a husband to a wife, and everywhere it said “wife” he just crossed it out and wrote “boss”. I die laughing every time I remember it.)
I still needed a card for CC. I had one in my hands made of thick black paper with red metallic script. Gorgeous. And hands-down, the single worst godawful rhyming card I’ve come across in a long time. It had real potential. In fact it was so bad and so long that I couldn’t even finish reading it. I got him a Chinese New Year card instead. Which I then lost.
The card that referenced chocolates I gave to the kid that hates chocolate (#4). The one that was made for a toddler with a picture of a bee and the obligatory Bee Mine! we gave to #1 (the 19-year-old), with hand-written references to VD. Because that’s the kind of thing you can write in a 19-year-old’s Valentine.
#5 got this one:
Inside I wrote: Dear god, I hope that cat doesn’t eat you. Because I love you! Happy Valentine’s Day!
His father wrote: Dear Son, She’s Nuts. Love, Dad.
#5 woke up before everyone else (as usual) on Valentine’s Day and opened his card. Then he texted me: Dad’s right. You’re nuts.
When I tucked him in he informed me that the cat’s smile was big enough and bright enough that when he wakes up in the middle of the night, he can see it in the darkness even without his glasses.
#5: It’s creepy.
On the way home from work Saturday night he sent me the above picture with the accompanying text It’s giving me nightmares.
I believe my work here is done. Clearly I have a future career in greeting card modification.