Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines -- Sweet Tradition

Valentine's Day is such a fun one at school. I'm about to leave for the school to bring treats for my daughter's class party. Long ago, I used to bring things like super soft sugar heart cookies all decorated so pretty. But now I sign up for fresh fruit. I'm bringing cut-up apples. The kids always seem to like having something healthy to go along with the sugar fest. For the Halloween party, I usually bring a big bag of apples, fresh from the local apple farm. The kids take turns using the twisty slicer and we throw all the apples into the crock pot with cinnamon & cloves and end up with yummy apple sauce by the end of the school day. Today, I'll just bring apples. They're not even ruby red to mimic a Valentine. Oh well. It's nice to simplify.

I'm not sure if my boys are having parties in their classes too. They're in 6th and 8th grades and don't seem to have as many parties as the younger graders, but since they're boys (Sorry to those who don't like to stereotype, but the boys are different than the girls in our family), they don't really know what's happening with their classes or if they do, they tell me what they need to bring the morning of. They were making Valentine's cards last night though, so there must be some celebrating going on.

The Valentine's Card is such a sweet tradition. There's a simple joy in opening a card with your name on it even if it only has two words written on it -- your name and their's. Even if you know they mass-wrote cards for everyone else in the class too. It still makes kids feel special to know someone gave them a card. I love watching the children open their cards in class. They look across the room at the person who gave it to them and yell out a "thanks." There are many smiles, whether candy is attached to the card or not. Some teachers don't even allow candy or treats to help the kids focus on the tradition of the card exchange (and they know they can control the kids better without all that sugar running through their veins :)).

This morning I volunteered at the annual Valentine's Sale that the school has in the morning, lunch break, and after school each year. The sale is full of donated items from the family and community (from recycled stuffed animals and baked goods to fresh flowers from the local bulb farm that actually supplies Everything is priced low so children can go in and shop for their friends and family. It was sweet to watch the kids think of the person they were shopping for, especially when the dads came in with their children to pick out some flowers. I kept wanting to take home some tulips for myself, but thought I should give others the opportunity to buy them first. Tulips are just stunning. I guess I shouldn't try to waste words on them. A picture won't even be enough. They're best experienced in real life. But I do need a photo for today's post, so this will have to do for my Valentine's Wish to you. Happy Valentine's Day!

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