When I was in elementary school there was a popular boy who had a crush on me in February. This is the perfect month to be crushing or have someone crushing on you because it can only mean one thing…PRESENTS. (Unless you are married, then it means something else.) My February crush gave me a stuffed Valentine’s Day bear and a note proclaiming his love for me, a love he promised would never end. It ended three days later. But I kept that bear and in high school, when I couldn’t get a boy to give me a pity box of those chalk flavored Valentine’s heart candies, I reminisced about that one February day in 4th grade when someone thought I was lovable. Now I have kids and watching those grade school crushes move in and out of their lives faster than a bowel movement is substantially more painful than the years I spent having no Valentine.
Three weeks ago my son began using hair gel in quantities that would have made the guys from Jersey Shore jealous. His hair was weighed down and lacquered up and my mom intuition told me something was going on.
“What’s with the fancy hair?”
“My crush has a crush on me, so I need to look handsome.”
He also started dousing himself with a can of Axe spray that we keep in the guest bathroom in case someone drops a smelly poo. The cologne smells only slightly better than a turd, but I ran out the good stuff. The romance was on and so was his black button up shirt and his nicest pair of jeans.
And then like wind between your cheeks, it was over. One day he came home from school with a droopy face and told me that his crush liked someone else. He stopped doing his hair and hasn’t showered in a month. It was heartbreaking, but at least we wouldn’t be spending twenty five dollars on a heart shaped box of chocolates or an overpriced giraffe sporting a red bow. Financial crisis averted.
I’m not the only one dealing with the Valentine’s Day gift giving charade. While at work last week, a woman and her 12-year-old son came in for a gift card and after three months of trying to decide which heart shaped card he wanted, they finally handed me one.
“How much would you like me to put on this?”
That’s when all hell broke loose. The son wanted to put 15 on the card, his mother was only willing to give 5 of her own money, which including his 5 only added up to 10. (I’m a math whiz, right?)
“But you promised.” The whining continued as I held the gift card in my hand and awkwardly watched the two of them like I was enjoying a new Netflix original program.
“We are still going to get her a card and a treat, so I think 10 dollars is plenty.” This is the exact moment where I became very jealous, very quickly.
“Fine. Just put 15 on it, please.” She turned to her son to make sure he knew that they would figure this out at home and I’m almost sure she meant that she would just pay for the whole thing and never bring it up again.
A 15 dollar Starbucks card, a treat, and a card? I’ve been married almost 16 years and I don’t get shit like that. My husband is jizzing in his pants over getting us a heart shaped pizza and a dollar store card that he will probably sign with his first and last name because he still thinks I’m not completely clear on who he is. This junior high school gal has no idea what kind of Valentine’s Day gifts she will be forced to pretend she loves in 25 years. Like when her husband sends her a box of chocolate covered strawberries and he’s already eaten all but two. There will be no mom there to buy her a Starbucks gift card or a special treat. Your special treat becomes a half eaten Hershey’s bar that your kids forgot about from Christmas. Happy Valentine’s Day to you!
I’ll be over here snuggling that stuffed bear from elementary school, if anyone needs me.