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Valentine's Day 2012.  Bug's first Valentine's Day in a classroom.  Leading up to the big day, I started to wonder about getting his classmates little Valentine cards that would be from the Bug.  I hemmed and hawed.  I asked my husband if he thought it would be inappropriate.  He said not as long as each classmate received a card.

So I went to my neighborhood Big Box Pharmacy That Also Sells Make-Up, Junk Food, "Seasonal Items," and Stationery.  I tried to find the part of the store that had what I assumed would be a large and varied collection of packs of Valentines for kids.

As it turns out, that part of the store is actually the end of an aisle under a flickering and failing lightbulb.  The kind of flickering and failing that made me worry that if I stayed too long (more than four seconds?) the aura would come.  So I spent the maximum four seconds there trying to decide which cards to purchase.  As it turns out, four seconds was not long enough.  

I walked away for a respite from that faulty lightbulb.  

Determined to be the (organized? thoughtful?) kind of mom who sends her kid to school with valentines on Valentine's Day - the kind of mom who is on maternity leave and could not truthfully rely on some excuse about being overextended with work - I went back to the paltry selection of valentines and bought all of them.  This was the moment when I should have realized I was trying to be something or someone that I am not.  And so I overcompensated by purchasing three times more valentines than were required by the circumstances.

That afternoon, I picked up the Bug from school and brought him home with a grand plan that he would "sign" each of the cards.  He seemed willing to play along at first.  He not only "signed" the first card but went on to "draw" pictures all over it... all over it.  I soon realized that I may have made a mistake by giving him a black pen to draw on the card.  By the time he was finished, the black ink covered the card . . . which did not exactly convey traditional valentine wishes.

So I got a new card out for the Bug.  (I had plenty to spare.)  This time he used a crayon in an appropriate shade of pink or purple - which was great.  I felt like we were on a roll.  

Then I asked him to do another card, and the Bug refused.  (There were ten more to go.)

I put the cards away and figured we could finish them the next morning before school.  

The next morning was Valentine's Day.  I asked Bug in my most enthusiastic voice if he wanted to finish making valentines.  The answer was no.

I looked at the pile of cards.  One signed by Bug.  Ten blank.  I wondered if I should replace Bug's card and sign all of them on his behalf.  Then I wondered if it really mattered at all.  

That morning, during drop-off at Bug's school, I saw one little classmate running around with a valentine for the teacher.  Then I heard another classmate's mom tell the teacher, "there's one for each kid in there."  And a minute or so later, the teacher showed me a pile of homemade valentines from one of Bug's classmates.  I smiled the guilty half-smile of someone who is afraid that she is about to be caught in her failures.

I kissed Bug good-bye and hurried away.

When Bug came home that day, I opened his lunchbox afraid that there would be an avalanche of valentines - one from each of his classmates - an overflowing declaration of the superior kindness and organization of all of the other families.

Nope.  Two valentines.  Each of them beautiful and sweet.  Thank goodness.

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