by Carol Kunnerup
Children buzz into to the preschool, faces alight and chirping about the treats they have in their backpacks. Each child tells about their Valentine’s cards–Super Heroes and Disney characters. They all want to know when they can pass them out to their friends.
The day runs on schedule just as we’d hoped, even with a preponderance of 3 year olds. Children busy themselves with the business of learning at exploration centers throughout the classroom.
Lunchtime comes and the excitement is palpably building. “After lunch everyone gets to pass out treats, right, Miss Carol?” asks one little girl. All eyes are on me as I give an affirmative nod and smile.
Five minutes until lunch wrap up. The door opens and a gal comes in with two vases of flowers. The delivery gal says, “For Angie and Kathi.” I feel a twinge. No, more than a twinge. A full on tornado twisting in my stomach and mind. No flowers for me. I am almost embarrassed. Not good enough to receive a treat says a cruel, phantom voice.
My Danish husband does not celebrate Valentine’s Day. I know this in my head and heart. It is not a custom in Denmark and he has not picked up the habit living in the US since 1996. We have been together for 16 years. This is not something that is going to change.
I manage to pull myself together, offer congratulations, the appropriate oohs and ahhs, the, “oh you’re so lucky!” All sincere, by the way. These are my work mates. I am happy for them. They did not choose a Dane, after all.
The festivities go on as planned. Angie hands a bag to each child. Kathi and I make sure they have their treats and are lined up to pass them out. We have created an assembly line of sorts to minimize the chaos. Each child happily takes their turn delivering friendly treats, dropping small delights into bags with their friends’ names on them.
Lesson planning after the children have gone for the day is interrupted by, “oh, my husband is so sweet,” and “what a good guy I have.” I am still happy for them. I also realize that I am happy for me. I know that this show is not necessary for me to feel my husbands love. I am glad for others who celebrate, but do not feel the need.
I have reconciled myself to the fact that my husband finds that this piece of American culture is not one he will adopt. I have tried, and we laugh about it, but he tells me that he shows his love for me each day. He doesn’t need one day a year to “prove it with flowers and candy. It is not necessary.” His love is a daily occurrence.
Besides, I can get my own chocolate. And as for gifts, well, several boxes of various items from ebay will be arriving this weekend.
Carol is a wife, mother, grandmother and artist who LOVES living in rural South Dakota where she has, “Pens that won’t run out of ink, cool quiet, and time to think…” (Mary Chapin Carpenter) She is learning the blogging thing and getting passionate kisses from her man.