Well, here we are once again. A week out from the day cupid decides our fate. He loves me. She loves me not. Husbands are frantically trying to make dinner reservations (hubbies, if you're not, that was your cue), wives are looking for something cute to wear - or if you're a mom, something CLEAN to wear. And the teachers - well the teachers are trying to figure out just where in their day they can squeeze the almighty valentine exchange that takes place among the kids, and inevitably leads to someone in tears.
Yes. It's true. You remember being in third grade and having a crush on the cutest girl or boy in class, only to have your heart pulverized when all they did was sign their name to the back of their Care Bears valnetine. We had thoughts like "That's it?? Just a name?? No heart? No smiley face?? No L-O-V-E???" And then we usually did this:
Oh - so what...you never did that? Just me? Ok - that's cool. I'll take the hit on this one. It's cool.
But in all seriousness, as a kid, for some reason we placed an exorbitant amount of importance on Valentine's Day. As I listen to my daughter's friends as they chat about crushes, I realize not much has changed, so I'm going to make a small request (if you have time this year). When your kiddo is filling out this year's confections of affection, maybe instead of just signing their name, you can have them write ONE THING they like about each student in their class. And THEN sign their name.
I realize this seems hokey, but here's the thing - many, many, MANY schools across the country are still not inclusive in nature - so children with special needs are separated, or only with their classmates for short bursts of time - usually during electives. Because they don't get much time with their actual peers, they miss out on the friendships, bonds, and relationships that are formed by being together. Friendships aren't as strong as they could be, nuances are not learned or understood - kids lose out on the opportunity to be kids together. But maybe ...just maaaayyyybeeeee this small act of writing one thing they like about their classmates will encourage them to get to know the kid in class who fidgets a lot, or the kiddo who struggles with reading...the boy with the blue glasses, or the girl with the hot pink wheelchair.
I mean, it's el dia de amor....we should at least be inclusive with our amor.