I have never made it secret that I was a weird kid.
I spent a lot of after-school time in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades crying because I felt like I didn’t have any friends. One of the friends I did have, used to punch me in the gut. Looking back now, I understand that a lot of us just didn’t know how to express ourselves. Dare I hang out with this person, or will someone make fun of me? I KNOW! Pretend I don’t like them, but hang out with them anyway!
Others would pretend they liked me and then ridicule me amongst their real friends. No, don’t make fun of Jessica, she’s one of us COOL KIDS. *snickering laughter*
Yeah. Confusing much?
Valentine’s Day was always the worst.
My box decorations were never as good as the popular girls’. My Valentine’s cards, while I thought they were cute, were generally the least trendy around. And, even though the rule “Bring everyone in your class a Valentine card” was there, you knew people liked you if you got candy in your box, or even multiple Valentine cards from the same person. Even better were the super-special Valentines from secret admirers.
Every year, I would get my hopes up. Maybe this will be the year that someone secretly admires me. Maybe I’ll get a piece of candy from someone. Maybe my box will be the prettiest.
Off I would go, tummy fluttering, palms sweaty. Hopeful that this year, THIS year would be it… yet, as the Valentine’s Day party wore on, the fluttering would turn sour, and I would go home with a bunch of meaningless, store-bought paper images with general “To: My Friend” sentiments. Rarely did anyone take the time to write my name.
The past few years I have watched Cabin Girl blossom, making friendships with any and everyone. It is, honestly, a relief to know that she will never want for friends to make her feel special.
Now though, I worry about the other kids in her class. The ones who are like I was. The ones who may look at my daughter and think, Why don’t people treat me the way they treat her?
In all the hype leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, I received a note from Cabin Girl’s teacher:
“Please send $2 to school for our Valentine’s Day celebration. The 2nd grade classes will be decorating cookies in lieu of exchanging cards.”
I was overwhelmed by the sense of gratitude I feel for these teachers.
Part of it, yes, is because I was really not looking forward to spending money/time on cards that, really, kids will be disappointed in if there isn’t sugar attached.
But mostly, it gives me relief to know that one of biggest potentially disappointing situations a kid can face through the school year is being removed.
Today, I hope that everyone enjoys the camaraderie that is experienced when doing something new and special together.
I am eagerly awaiting Cabin Girl’s return home, so I can hear about her day made special, not from receiving, but from doing.
I hope she saves her cookie so I can see it. And, for $2, it better be a big freaking cookie.