All 18 of the 4-year-olds. He opened his art box and started pulling out every color construction paper and started to draw and cut out hearts. I was impressed. He’s only shown such focus when drawing princesses as the project du minute.
So I dove in with him.
And lo and behold, he wrote names as I frantically cut hearts (frantically because he wrote so quickly…obviously a genius) and he glued the hearts and applied princess and Spider-man stickers without rhyme or strategy.
Letting him use a Sharpie marker also helped inspire him. Sharpies are off-limits for obvious reasons.
It was awesome.
I never expected to make Valentines. Never once in my childhood did I hand out anything but what my mother bought at Target…Scooby Doo or Star Wars cards with stupid puns and whatnot.
I beamed with pride looking at our table littered with construction paper scraps. And the Valentines were cute.
And so obviously constructed by a 4-year-old – names were backwards with letters in no particular order, written in spirals, etc.
And then I questioned our choices and actions…because judgment. And I’m an idiot. And apparently still a slave to social pressures.
Nope…I couldn’t leave well enough alone and be proud of my son’s excitement to make Valentines for the first time in his life.
Instead, social pressures trumped my good judgment.
What if the other kids all have store-bought cards with princesses and BB-8 and he thinks, “Daddy! Theirs were better than mine!”
What if the other kids are pissed his aren’t coming with candy? (Because seriously…what preschooler needs candy?)
What if the other kids tell him his cards are dumb or that he should have included candy?
And then it becomes about me.
What if the parents think I’m a stingy asshole cuz we didn’t include candy?
What if they see that I obviously cut out the hearts and judge me for doing too much for my kid?
Worse, what if they roll their eyes at our efforts to make homemade Valentines?
Should I send them a class-wide disclaimer saying, ‘This was NOT my idea. I’m NOT a crafty Martha Stewart. In fact, I hate that shit! This was his idea!”
But then they get pissed at me because I’m downplaying my son’s creativity and trying to make them feel bad about their not-creative kid?
I know. I know.
Please let my son be less hampered by social obligations than I.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all and to all an anxiety-free Hallmark holiday devoid of stupid obligations. Just love one another, right? Like a 4-year-old would.