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This Year's Valentines

2265269730_e1027633e6_m My kids are passionate about Valentines Day. Every year they spend a lot of time hand-making valentines. In years past it has seemed, when the valentines came home from school, that mine were among the few children around here who did this, in that most or all of the other valentines were store-bought.

2265265170_41acb74830_m This year, about three weeks ago, I bought a ream of red paper and since then the house has been awash in sheets of red paper with their hearts cut out. Usually, in the home stretch, I carefully shepherd the kids through organizing their creations so that everyone they intend to give to gets a valentine. This year, the flu has been circulating in the house in the five days before Valentines Day. (Apparently there's an epidemic.)

(Also, I should admit that last fall when I was trying to round up flu shots for me and the kids, I wasn't persistent enough. The only one in the family who had this season's shot is David.)

This morning began with tears. It seems that while both kids had spent a lot of time and paper making Valentines, in her exuberance, my five year-old had regarded the products of my ten year-old as raw material for her art. Most of his Valentines got recycled into hers. I was only vaguely aware of this until this morning when it was too late to do anything about.

Next year we'll all get flu shots. And next year, I will orchestrate the festivities more carefully. Oh, well.

(Above left: a Valentine Peter made for his father in art class at school; above right: one of Elizabeth's lavish creations.)