18 January 2010

Murder Most Foul...?

Not quite a year ago, I found myself taking custody of my now 10-yr old niece. She's a sassy one, that kid. She had been without a mother figure in her life, and I have been without a family of my own, so we were an odd couple to say the least. Yet here we are, almost a year later, and I couldn't tell you what life was like before my little Pumpkin Pie.

That being said...parenting is still a bit of an experiment to me. I am very loving, yet very logical; 2 traits which are sometimes at odds. I've been making sure we have plenty of kid things to do, kid-friendly TV, games, the gamut. I show love and affection, and try to think of things from a kid's point of view. I even decorated for Christmas- tree and all. I thought I was in the clear until at least Easter.

Not so. In what began as a casual conversation, my niece asked me what I was doing for Valentine's day. I hastily replied, "Nothing. I don't believe in Valentine's Day." I've never had a Valentine, never dated during Valentine's "season"...I haven't even been in love, for Pete's sake. So what's the point?

I know I can't say that to a child and have her comprehend. "Uh, I don't have a Valentine so I don't really celebrate it." My excuse was weak and even I knew it. She probed, "Yeah, but why don't you believe in Valentine's? Don't you & your friends have some kind of a party or something?" My response came easily, "Ha. My friends don't believe in Valentine's Day either. We celebrate Catharsis Day."

The look on her face said it all. I might as well have lined up Santa, the Tooth Fairy AND the Easter Bunny, then shot them, execution style, yo. Ugh. I backtracked, I tried to sooth her & reassure her that SHE would be my Valentine. I even snuck out on a lunch break to buy a few odds & ends to put together as an "I Love You" basket. I let her pick out a box of Valentine cards for her little school class. I promised her a "date night" just for Tia (aunt) and her.

And here lies the rub: Do I tell her now that its all just a sham created by the greeting card industry, in a secret pact with chocolate companies to drive revenue in an otherwise low point of sales? Do I tell her that boys are silly and when they grow up they tend to think with their penis (wait...then I would have to explain penis and the whole sex thing...nevermind)?

Or do I let her dream? Do I let her enjoy these young times when all that matters is how many times you can get across the monkey bars and which Claire's necklace you're going to wear with your outfit? I'll be her Valentine indefinitely, making sure she always knows on Feb 14th, along with every other day of the year that more than anything in the world, she is loved.

Admittedly, I would prefer her to be grounded, pragmatic, yet I think I'm letting this one go to Option #2. I would rather her find some magic, some joy in an admittedly lousy excuse for a holiday. Life is tough enough. We all find out sooner or later. Let her learn a little later. My choice is final: I'm going to let Santa, The Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny live another day...

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, Bb, I have a husband and I still hate Valentine's Day. I always have. My 3-yr-old has a valentine exchange next week and I'm thinking "what's the point?!?" he's 3. I know he'd love all the dumb little cartoony impersonal valentines cards that would inevitably litter my home for weeks to come, but I'm finding it hard to actually sir and create valentines and a valentines box. Once again, you've shown me the right way. I'll quit scrooging over the holiday and let hallmark and hersheys win for another year. Ugh. 17 more years to go.