“Mummy, will I get a Valentine’s Day card?”
That was the question posed by my 6 year old son yesterday. “Probably not, sweetie” was my reply.
What followed was a long discussion about what Valentine’s Day meant; who got cards, why, why not, and why it all started (I had no idea).
My 4 year old daughter popped the odd question in here and there, but mostly the questions were from my son. The kids in her kindy class make cards for their parents – which is sweet and appreciated.
My son’s concerns were that the kids at school were already talking about who they were giving cards to and who they thought they would get them from. Did I say that he is 6? When he asked if he and his male mates could give each other cards so they weren’t left out, I was a little stumped. Of course they could, however that was not necessarily in the spirit of the day, which was about girlfriends/ boyfriends (and I am making no judgement here on same-sex relationships – simply that a 6 year old does not have a romantic relationship).
But I wondered, why couldn’t the day be about friends? The main reason I felt uncomfortable with the whole concept is that Valentine’s Day is just so much about marketing. In my job, I have received endless press releases telling me about why I should be telling our magazine readers they should be giving “sugar-free chocolate this Valentine’s Day” or giving a cute stuffed bunny/ teddy/ dog to show they really care.
I have enjoyed receiving something on Valentine’s Day and when we have time, my husband and I have made a special effort to have a quiet meal together. That said I enjoy a thoughtful card or quiet meal even more when it is spontaneous and not part of a set marketing calendar that tells us to share our feelings on this date.
So in the end, I told my son that he should make his friends a card telling them why they are special to him. It didn’t need to be a Valentine’s Day thing, but that was up to him.
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? What does it mean to you?