Valentine’s Day Boxes

So there is a thing here in Minnesota, or probably everywhere, that I’m just learning about with the boys now in elementary school. I don’t recall this from Michigan, at least from friends that had kids in elementary school, but of course Pinterest didn’t really exist when we lived there- at least not like it does today. Valentine’s Day boxes. The joy for every Pinterest obsessed mom and the dread for every mom just making ends meet with getting homework done and lunches packed. Now, for those of you who might not quite understand the whole box occult, I would tell you to go to Pinterest and look it up, but you would be gone for a few hours and forget to finish reading my post. Valentine’s Day boxes are the decorative (relatively stated) box that will hold the delightful little cards and candies that your kiddo will receive on V-day. Some are simple, yet tasteful- think of a shoebox with cute wrapping paper. Or some are over the top- I’m sure someone has engineered a box that lights up and makes kissing noises. Back when I was growing up, you were given a brown lunch bag, some paper doilies and some construction paper and you had 30 minutes in class to make the magic happen. Now, students are tasked with creating a box at home. That’s totally fine, I’m all up for more learning time and leaving the extra stuff to do at home. However, that was before I knew what a status symbol these boxes are. Back in the day, it was a nice car, a nice house, what brand of jeans you’re wearing- that might still be the case. But, now, it’s also the extra projects that your child brings into school that you’re judged on. There is a pack group of moms that LOVE to volunteer in the classroom (that is not my calling- but I will prep projects like a boss if that helps!). I feel that they just salivate at the thought of seeing what boxes each kid brings in. It’s like a little peek into the home of each child, good or bad. I don’t care if they know our life is crazy- I blog about it so what’s left to hide? My dear, sweet Aden however, is just not the most creative little guy. After taking one of my good shoe boxes and butchering a hole in the top that resembled a Florida sinkhole, he decided to take a few markers and start scribbling everywhere. I couldn’t in good conscience let him take that to school. I couldn’t let him be the one kid with the noticeably different- not in a good way- box. So herein lies the dilemma. If I let him embraces his “creative” side, the conversation will sound something like this:

Mom Bee 1:“Oh, wow, that’s a cute box. Did you do that all by yourself?”

A: “Yup! I even wrote Valentime’s Day on it!” (he smiles proudly- totally not even acknowledging his misspelling of the holiday they’re celebrating)

Mom Bee 1: “Oh, I see. Well, go set that over by Johnny’s glow in the dark rocket propelled box and have a seat at the cookie craft table.”

Mom Bee 2: “Wow, did you see that! I can’t believe she would send her child to school with a Valentine’s day box that looks like a shoe box! Doesn’t she know there are like a million ideas on Pinterest! She must not ever take time to help him. Poor kid.”

Mom Bee 1: “Yeah, I heard she works full time and never volunteers in the classroom! I’ve only seen her dropping her kids off in the morning for before care. Can you even imagine that?”

Mom Bee 2: “So crazy! And, her husband is a full time student, I mean, how does that even work? I bet the kids have no bed time and they eat take-out all the time.”

Mom Bee 1: “Seriously, how hard can it be to dress up a box for your child? You can totally find lights on sale at Target after Christmas and there are so many awesome ideas online! We only spend about 3 weeks on ours so it’s not like it takes a ton of time. Poor kid, I just know he will be a delinquent.”

Okay, I’m sure that is not quite how it goes, but seriously, there is a THING about these Valentine’s boxes here, at least in suburbia. I want my kids to use their talents, whatever level it might be, and make whatever they desire and be proud of it. That seems like the right thing to do. Really only helping with items that need adult supervision- getting supplies off of shelves, breaking up scissor sword fights, you know, the normal stuff. Instead, I’m feeling this horrible “night before my mid-term” kind of pressure to do the coolest box in all the mid-west and send it to school with Aden like he did it all himself. I mean seriously, we’re expected to believe that little Johnny, who can’t even tie his shoes in the first grade, created a box that makes kissing noises? Come on! I might not volunteer every week in their classroom but I’m not that dumb! Honestly I really don’t care if your kid has the coolest box because as long as my kid is happy with his, I’m happy with it. And to save you the time of judging me, yes, we do get take out at least once a week usually and it typically does involve a drive through. My house is a hot mess most days and the only type of delinquent we are planning in our lives is perhaps a delinquent library book. Because it of course it will get lost in my messy house.

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