I'm not a huge fan of Valentines Day.
Let me rephrase that...I'm not a huge fan of Valentines Day when it comes to school. I have nothing against buying Mr. Bluebird a card and going out to dinner. Sometimes we'll even splurge and catch a movie (although lately nothing interesting is even showing nearby). However, Valentines Day at school is just a step below the Day After Halloween.
In short, it's a day where the kids have lost their minds and are all hopped up on sugar.
First, they get candygrams delivered by the Jr. Civitan club, which was kind of amusing as three of my boys, instead of buying candygrams for their sweethearts, bought them for themselves! Then we get kids who bring in cookies and cupcakes for their classes to share. Fortunately for me, one of my mothers decided they didn't need the sugar and bought sausage biscuits from Hardees for the entire homeroom. They arrived toasty hot and the kids wolfed them down. Follow that with candy gifts from their friends, more lollipops, chocolate covered cherries from the Valentines store, you name it.
Secondly, Valentines Day, for some of my kids who've been whomped upside the head by the hormone hammer, is a big deal. Although they're only 12 and 13, some of them have "boyfriends" and "girlfriends" and "go out". This is, most likely, their first Valentines Day with romance in their lives so they're just all a twitter over that. (On an aside, I'm still trying to get one of them to give me a satisfactory explanation on how you can "go out" when you don't have a car.)
I can't wait until they're old and boring like Mr. Bluebird and I whose idea of a fun night out is catching dinner at Raffertys or Old Chicago and then hanging out at Borders and Best Buy perusing books and DVD's. We are excitement personified.
In any case, I did score some sweet Valentines from the kids which always make my day (and are now taped on my wall behind my desk). I even got two roses from one of my students who is also in my Title I tutoring class as well.
The best Valentine, however, came from one of the girls in my homeroom, one who arrived just before Christmas from somewhere Up North. Twiggy Girl is a tiny, tiny slip of a thing who struggles in school. Now some of this may have to do with her family situation. She apparently moved here with Mom, and two siblings and now they're living, in a trailer, with her cousin and her family. It's crowded, to say the least. She has, at best, maybe three different outfits. Right now we have temperatures around 20 degrees in the morning and I have yet to see her in any jeans that go down to her ankles; all her jeans are capri styled (or she's just outgrown them lengthwise). She originally showed up with a gigantic chip on her shoulder, but since then has softened a bit and realized that we aren't out to get her, and, in fact, are here to help her.
I started giving her a little "mommy time", making it a point of asking her about her day, seeing if she's got her work down for all her classes, helping her with her Science, and generally just giving her some attention. It has worked miracles with her. She's volunteering questions in class (and getting them right), she passed her last test, and she's doing all her work. Her grade is rapidly rising. It's still not easy for her, but it's better.
So last week when the PTO gave me two coupons for $3 to spend at the Valentines Store, I gave one to her. I told her how proud I was of her and how delighted I was that she was working so hard to bring her grades up. You would have thought I'd handed this kid a hundred dollar bill. Her eyes got huge, and she just blinked and blinked at me, as if she couldn't believe her good fortune.
On Wednesday there was an envelope in my box from the PTO which contained handmade Valentines cards that the kids made at the Valentines Store (thanks to the wonderful lady who donated all the cool scrapbooking supplies). I handed them out to the kids in class and got to the last one which was absolutely covered with foam hearts of every size and color. Whomever made this card certainly wanted to make a statement! I couldn't find a name for who it went to until I opened it up and discovered it was for me!
All it said was "I love you, from Twiggy Girl".