It's funny to think it was just five short years ago that I brought my oldest son to his very first preschool Valentine's Day celebration. We had made a special trip to the store where he browsed for quite awhile before carefully choosing Lightning McQueen cards to share with his 3-year-old classmates. He was so excited and I was just an emotional mama watching him reach yet another milestone.
But when we got there, I was shocked and saddened to find that we were the only ones who brought valentines. That's because all of the other moms had gone above and beyond (see: overachievers) and put together little goodie bags for the kids.
What the WHAT?
How did I not see this coming? Had I missed a note that came home? Was there a motherhood club meeting that I had blown off? "Come on, Moms," I thought. "Help a girl out, already!" I had two kids a year apart, a job and a skill set that did not include crafting at the kitchen table. What the heck do you do all day that you have time to assemble goodies, pencils, stickers and whatever other unnecessary Valentine's Day-related items into a cellophane bag adorned with a bow and personalized tag? Do you hate other moms? Are you trying to make us look bad?
I couldn't help but look at those sad, pathetic Lightning McQueen cards and see them as a symbol of yet another failure. My son was cursed with an ordinary mom whose idea of homemade cookies were those she broke apart before baking. Couldn't I at least step up and provide him with Valentine's Day goodies that would make a preschooler proud?
About ten minutes later, I realized my kid didn't care. In fact, none of the kids cared. The valentine exchange was so chaotic, they barely even knew from whom each valentine came and it didn't seem to be something that even crossed their tiny heart-shaped minds.
Waaaaaait a minute. You mean if I skip the ridiculous guilt and own the fact that the bare minimum for made-up Hallmark holidays is enough, my kid and his classmates will still be pumped up with sugar and arrive home with enough red and white pencils to last through college?
I'm sorry, moms. I'm sorry for the judgement... the resentment... the dirty looks in the preschool parking lot. Because you've taught me so much about myself, my kids and why doing things half-assed truly is the way to go.
But more than that, thank you. Thank you for the endless supply of sugary goodness you send home for Valentine's Day, Christmas, your child's birthday or just because you're that good of a mom. My taste buds and ever-growing behind truly appreciate your thoughtfulness.
You really didn't think I let my kids eat all that crap, did you?
Follow Jackie Morgan MacDougall on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JackieMacD