For the first time in well over a decade, I have pre-Valentines Day jitters.
The typical woman panics: Will I get long stem roses at the office? Will he finally change his Facebook relationship status? And if so, should I take a bigger risk with my bikini wax?
But not me. My greatest concern is not if, but when, my daughters will feel their first tinge of a broken heart.
There's a reason why young boys are playing little league and using a magnifying glass to spot their first chest hair while young girls are watching Heathers and Jawbreaker (OK, Mean Girls and Gossip Girl). As boys train to be men, girls train to be bitches, and preschool is their boot camp.
Thus, there is much to be taken from the Valentines your child receives -- or doesn't. Here are some guidelines:
- Don't be too quick to assume the kid who doesn't hand out cards has an absentee parent, or has anti-Valentine's Day religious affiliations. More than likely, the "oversight" is an intentional way of putting a vibe out that child is "too cool."
- These days, it takes weeks of study to memorize the unusual names on any grade school class roster. Perfect spelling of a weird first name is good, but include the middle name correctly and you've basically offered a promise ring.
- I'm not saying there is sexual innuendo in all classrooms, but I'd keep an eye out for the girl who gets lots of references to Jasmine.
I've often wondered when life gets easier, and heard that it doesn't. I wish I could tell my girls that their hearts will remain intact forever, but it would be a lie. Whether they shed tears over the loss of a V-tech toy or their V-card, it's all the same.
The key is in teaching them to love themselves more than anything else and stay whole despite a broken heart... remembering, all the while, that a broken heart leaves more room to let love in.
Follow Karri-Leigh's adventures as a television producer, blogger and mom on Dirty Laundry & Dirty Diapers.