The other day was Valentine’s Day. How does a single gal like myself know? Because the teens I teach went a little bit nuts. The Axe smell in the hallway reached a new high, and I had more lipstick tubes in my lost-and-found than I did in my makeup kit at home.
After I finished laughing my face off, I spent a minute reminiscing about my own overachieving miracle of a mom. As kids, my sisters and I were tremendously popular around Valentine’s Day, and it was all thanks to my mom. She makes the yummiest sugar cookies ever, and for Valentine’s day, she would get a class list from our teachers and make a heart-shaped, from-scratch, frosted cookie with each of our classmates’ names spelled out in icing. Our teachers got really big, hand-shaped cookies, signed with our names. And the principal got a cookie so big we all three carried it in on a cookie tray.
Amazing, right? But this is not all. You see, my elementary school, as part of the Valentine’s day festivities, had a Valentine’s box contest. The art teacher would come in and judge each student’s shoe box during lunch, and the winner got something that was tremendously important to any third-grader…. respect. Mad respect, y’all. The art skills are totally where it’s at in elementary school.
We did the traditional shoe box for a year or two without any luck, until we started getting creative. One year, my mom helped me make my Valentine box into a computer, complete with that old-school perforated computer paper wound around a paper towel roll so as you dropped in your card you could turn the roll and see a message on the computer screen just for you. (Computers were still pretty new to the average eight-year-old back then; we were a little fuzzy on how they worked.) I did pretty well that year, and my classmates got a kick out of the fun messages on the computer.
But the next year? That was an entry that I’m pretty sure will go down forever in Conneaut history. My Valentine’s box was a dress!! My mom sewed me a long dress with a pocket for every kid in my class… labeled with their name in shiny puff paint. It was a true ninety’s work of art… and man, was it ever a hit! Not only did I get to stay in for the judging since I was wearing the dress, but I WON! My “box” was voted as the best in the entire school!! I was so proud, and maybe a little embarrassed, but I didn’t realize until much, much later that what I should be feeling most was gratitude, because, seriously, who does that?! Is my mom the most incredible mother in the world, or what?! (Mom, if you’re reading this, you should post a picture of the dress. The world deserves to see it.)
I didn’t enter any contests this year, but I still have the best mom ever. You should really try her sugar cookies.