Friday, February 13, 2009

How times change

I've been watching my children do valentines this week. We went to the store and chose the design they found most innocuous but still with the best cool factor. Then we brought them home so they could write their class names on them. This part is still the same as I remember. The class lists so no one gets forgotten or has their name misspelled. The careful selection of which design sends the least worst message to the person indicated. The neatly writing of the names at the beginning quickly degenerating into an illegible scrawl by the time you get to "to: Wally From: Amy." Poor Wally probably could never read any of the names on his Vallentines.

The difference is that my children never have to deal with stupid cards that say horrible things like "Be my Valentine!" or "Be mine!" I never wanted anyone to "Be mine!" yet every year I had to carefully separate out the "be mine"s from the "be my Valentine"s because the "be mine"s sent a slightly more ambiguous message and were the least worst choice for the boys in the class. There would be one or two designs that were message neutral (the beloved "Happy Valentine's Day!") and those went to the scuzzy boys that you didn't want to even get a whiff of the wrong idea much less look at it. Those neutral cards were highly prized and I never even had enough to cover the scuzzy boys much less the whole class.

Apparently though, other 70's-80's children remember the years of careful Valentine sorting in classes where everyone had to give to everyone. Those kids are now working for cheap Valentine corporations and designing those little cards that my kids give away every year. Not one of of these boxes of Valentines has a "Be mine!" anywhere near it. Matthew was sorting his animal designs by which animal he thought the kid might like. Rilla sorted them by which gender was pictured on the front of the card. Neither one of them had the horror of desperately trying not to make anyone think they were in love with them.

I love this so much that I might send a Valentine to the Valentine companies myself just as a thank you.

It won't say "Be mine!"