Yesterday afternoon as Charlie and I sifted through the Valentines he brought home from preschool, it was plain to see that there are two schools of thought behind the organization and execution of mom-directed Valentine-giving among those in early childhood. There is the handcrafted, clever, and uniquely adorable variety--perhaps inspired by Pinterest or purchased on Etsy. And then there is the canned and generic "buy a box of Cars-themed Valentines while grocery shopping and slap a tootsie pop on it" kind. Can you guess which sort my son took to school? I am unabashedly not ashamed to own the fact that my three-year-old went with Cars.
I really enjoyed looking at the sweetly, beautifully handmade cards laced with a chic presentation of candies. It was kind of like a mini session of browsing online pin boards for uber-adorable Valentine ideas. And they were right in front of me, already created. And Charlie and I were mining them for their attractive cache of candy. At lunchtime.
I also really enjoyed looking at the Cars-type cards. There were a bunch, all delightfully adorned with taped-on pink tootsie pops. Was I embarrassed to see these identical cards with identical treats, presented in such a pedestrian way? No, my friends, I was anything but embarrassed. I felt, rather, a satisfying sense of solidarity with the moms who sent Valentines like ours. "That's right, people," our kids' Valentine offerings seemed to declare, "We went with pre-fab Cars and a taped on tootsie pop. Deal with it."
Lest you think I am trashing the moms who made the super cute offerings, let me state that just a few years back, I was one of them. I remember packing my baby and toddler tots off to my favorite scrapbook store to purchase stamps, paper, and all the supplies necessary to create ladybug Valentines for a preschool party. It was exciting for me to envision the finished product, and fun for me to engage in a few hours of stamping, cutting, and ribbon-tying in order to make it happen. Back then, I enjoyed it.
Now, eight-ish years after the ladybug cards, life has intervened. If I have a few hours to fill, I desire these things, in no particular order: a nap, a trip to the movies, a meal eaten somewhere else and prepared by someone else, a book, dark chocolate, a Netflix fix, a walk, and/or some uninterupted conversation. It's not that I don't appreciate crafting or see the value in it for other people. It's simply that it's no longer fun for this gal. It's work, and I have plenty of that already.
I love that I have friends who have the gift for making beautiful, handmade things. I like that they enjoy creating and that their creations make the world a little prettier. I really do get a charge out of admiring the fruits of their craftiness. But I also like that I am not crafty anymore, and I know it.
I still create things. But now it may be more along the lines of a dinner which successfully feeds my morbidly picky eaters. Or an evening when Jack's poo-palooza goes no farther than a three-minute smearing of the bedsheets (the easiest smear to remedy, as Jeff and I both know). I'm proud of the calm demeanor I created and doggedly maintained this week when Jack sassily lobbed a Lightning McQueen across the room, knocking my Paris plates off their perch and into a shattered pile on the floor.
Anyway, Cars IS on my three-year-old's list of top five most-repeated movies. And to be perfectly frank, some members of my family like tootsie pops so much that they request that two of them be packed for their lunch--with nothing else. (Just because he asked, it doesn't mean that is what he got). Basically, we just went with it, tootsie pop-style this Valentine's Day. It's how we roll.