The Whole Valen­tine Thing…

201 Family - - CONTENTS - – AMELIA DUG­GAN

Valen­tines have been a bit of a thorn in my side since I was in the sec­ond grade at An­nun­ci­a­tion School in Para­mus. Why you may ask? Well here’s how the story goes. Valen­tine’s Day was al­ways a dou­bly ex­cit­ing day in my child­hood be­cause we got to cel­e­brate in school and it was also my younger sis­ter Carla’s birth­day, so we’d have a party at home too. I re­mem­ber that Feb. 14, 1966 when I was pack­ing up my books, putting on my coat, grab­bing my Bar­bie lunch box and col­lect­ing all of the Valen­tines I’d re­ceived that day. The nuns made us march in a row up the side stairs out­side the school to the buses and I was clutch­ing my cards in my hand so that I could ad­mire them along the way. A boy be­hind me was fool­ing around and knocked me for­ward so that my face hit the step and I cracked my two front teeth. I didn’t try to break my fall be­cause I didn’t want to lose my cards. Kids! There was blood ev­ery­where and I was cry­ing and there was a flurry of at­ten­tion. The next thing I re­mem­ber, I was home in bed, my Valen­tines de­stroyed, and I was not able to at­tend the party be­cause I was too beaten up and it was dan­ger­ous for my teeth. You can only imag­ine how much “fun” I had with my den­tist the next weeks that passed un­til my teeth were shaved and capped prop­erly. It would be a gross un­der­state­ment to say that a lit­tle of the hol­i­day’s lus­ter was lost on me that year. When my triplets were in kinder­garten and it came time for Valen­tine’s Day, I remembered my own ex­pe­ri­ence with the cards and had a bit of a chuckle. My girls were so ex­cited about writ­ing the cards and at­tach­ing candy and giv­ing them out in school. Rules had changed about that and ev­ery­body had to give cards to ev­ery mem­ber of the class – they couldn’t be se­lec­tive and leave a kid out. It may have de­feated the whole pur­pose of a Valen­tine, but it was a much kinder and more in­clu­sive ap­proach.

My daugh­ters’ first Valen­tine’s Day came and went with­out any fan­fare, so I fig­ured what­ever black cloud I had once been un­der so many years ago had not trans­ferred to them. Or maybe it’s just that kids carry back­packs on their shoul­ders now and know to keep their hands free. What­ever the rea­son, it sure was fun greet­ing the girls af­ter school and see­ing their faces shine with delight at their trea­sures.

Happy Valen­tine’s Day!

48 FE­BRU­ARY/MARCH 2017 (201) FAM­ILY

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