Celebrating Valentine’s – or should I say, Valentime’s – Day at an elementary school is an experience no one should miss out on. You wake up, don your red-and-pink Valentine’s Day garb, and walk onto a campus to be greeted by the rustle of plastic grocery bags, filled with sugar puff sweets and perforated greetings sold by the two dozen. The kids are wearing their biggest smiles since Christmas, because in these bags lies happiness, and at the end of the dreary day, there are cupcakes. They also are still at the perfect age where writing a Valentine to your mom or your grandma is the only thing you dream of doing. Not yet confused by relationship statuses, who is dating, quasi-dating, soon-to-be-dating, just-stopped-dating… none of that. Your mom is your mom. You love her, she loves you, and so it shall always be.
I helped a few of my students write their Valentine’s on Monday. While busily applying glitter and stickers to his big red heart he asked, “Do you know what of the best Valentime’s food?”
“No,” I replied, “What is it?”
He looks at me with a glint in his eye. “Turkey!” He exclaims.
My face must have registered my confusion. “We eat turkey for Thanksgiving,” I responded. “We usually eat other things for Valentine’s Day. Like candy, or cookies…” The other students begin chattering about their favorite kinds of candy.
But the boy watched me skeptically. “Well, I eat turkey,” he stated. I wasn’t about to argue with that. Happy Valentine’s Day, here’s your turkey.
I left the conversation to help out with a cookie-decorating activity in the preschool class. I’ve gotten into the habit of asking one student in particular, “What do you think, Bobby T?” So I asked him the usual question. He patted the seat next to him. “I think, I think… you should come sit next to me.”
“Why Bobby?” I asked. “Why should I come sit next to you?”
“Because,” he answered, his big blue eyes looking down at the table, “I like you.”
Everyone should feel this loved on Valentine’s Day. Just think of elementary school, and you will.