Yesterday was, of course, Valentine's Day, and I found myself all day thinking about the Valentine's Days of my youth. I wished I could return to grade school again, when we all loved each other and it wasn't about romance at all.
I seem to remember that every year we would make valentine holders of some type in class. They would be enveloped decorated with lace and hearts, or small boxes to keep our cards in. Then some luck person would be chosen to make the class Valentine box. I was able to do it a couple of times (my teachers all recognized my artistic bent from a pretty early age and I loved doing those kind of projects in class) and I remember covering a good sized cardboard box with pink and red tissue paper or construction paper and then decorating with hearts of all types and sizes. On Valentine's eve I sat at home with a class list and chose just the right little valentine for each one on the list. I signed them, stuffed them in their tiny envelopes, and then wrote the recipients name on the outside. The next day they all went in to school and into the big box on the teacher's desk.
Once I became of age I knew what Valentine's Day was really about and for so many years I searched high and wide for the perfect gift for the man in my life. It had to be red, or pink, and I found all kinds of things to fit that criteria from sweatshirts to tools, always thrilled to find a perfect carpenter's level or nice corduroy shirt in bright red to wrap and give as a symbol of my love.
I don't have someone in my life anymore to give those expressions of my romantic love and I miss it. Its a sad thing for me because I still feel as though I have love to offer someone. But I do have people in my life that I love, and I still make sure my grandchildren get Valentine's from me so they know how much I love them. Its not quite the same as getting something from a sweetheart, but at this point it will have to do.
But if I could go back to grade school again, I would in a minute. Because I still remember those warm and fuzzy feelings when I came home with my stash of cards. Somebody loved me. Or at the very least cared what happened to me. And that was all I needed.