We didn't do anything Martha Stuart would take notice of, but the kids had fun. And that's the key for me. Basically I bought a bunch of stickers and had some card stock that Mary had given me years ago, like before we moved to Georgia-years ago. That means at least three years, but I'm glad I still had it. Saved money on having to buy more. Although we probably would have just used construction paper because we have a ton of that too, that also made the move with us from Washington. A friend there was cleaning out closets and gave me a stack at least a foot high...it's taking the kids a while to go through it! They did use some for their cards. They cut out hearts to go along with their stickers and any coloring or writing they felt inspired to do.
Gracie had me write "Happy Valentine's Day!" on each card. She signed her name and we took turns writing the names of her classmates. Originally I gave Jace a little more freedom, telling him he could just write "Happy Valentine's Day" or he could add a note inside if he wanted to. He had carefully organized himself to be sure he had enough blue and yellow hearts for the boys' cards and pink and purple hearts for the girls' cards, except for one special card. I'll tell you more about that in a minute.
So, after finishing a few cards he realized that he hadn't put a heart on one of the girls' cards. We went back through to find the heartless card. I found it. On the front it declared "You're a lucky African" and inside he'd written "Happy Valentine's Day, Jace." I was stunned. What the heck did that mean!? So I asked him. There are two children in Jace's class, Briana and Nicholas, that he constantly points out are African American. He's convinced that the Nicholas is actually from Africa, which he may be. I haven't met him. But, more likely, I think, he's born and raised here in Georgia. Jace doesn't buy it. He's always telling me that Nicholas will probably eat this or that because, in his mind, it's African food. (Jace has lot of theories about how our heritage defines us. Here you can learn about Indians, Native Americans or Native Indians I'm not certain.)
So I asked him what the card meant.
"She's lucky I'm giving her a card."
"Because she's African?"
"No, because she's mean."
"Does her being mean have anything to do with her being African?"
"No. She just doesn't like me."
"OK, then. First of all, we don't need to constantly point out people's ancestry, especially when it really has nothing to do with your point that she's mean. Secondly, this is a Valentine's Day card, which should be nice, even if Briana isn't nice to you. And if you don't have anything nice to say, simply write 'Happy Valentine's Day!' and sign your name."
Jace made Briana a new card, including her heart, not mentioning how lucky she is to get a card at all. Then he worked on the rest of his class's cards. He even made one very special card for Meredith, who's not in his class, but is his first little crush. Her card was adorned with a red heart, the only one he gave out. And he wrote her message in pink marker, instead of the joyful black he used for everyone else. Rather than sealing the envelope with a smiley face or dinosaur sticker like all the rest, Meredith's is closed with eight sparkling heart stickers.
What a holiday...turmoil over giving cards to those who don't like us and anticipation of giving cards to those we adore.
I can't believe how many more years I'm going to have to deal with this! Er, I mean...uh...isn't young love precious?