|The Valentine’s Day card Ben and I made on the computer to pass out at the 2nd Grade Party
My seven-year old hates Valentine’s Day. He will make that known to anyone who will listen to him. Yet he pours out his heart in letters to his little girlfriend back in California. These two have been an item since the middle of Kindergarten. At the end of that school year, we moved to Oregon. They have been writing letters and cards to each other ever since. We have visited several times, because we also have our family there. She and her mom have been up here on a train to visit us last summer. The grown-ups at the train station couldn’t wait to meet Emily after he’d been going around to all the other travellers telling them about her and that she was coming to see him and he couldn’t wait to see her.
So, here we are in the middle of 2nd grade, and still these two are thick as thieves. They write the most adorable things to one another. Ben was writing to Emily about subtraction, and how it’s difficult for him. Addition is more his thing. He told her that when we come to visit this summer, he’ll be ready to try to eat a June bug. Must be something she dared him to do last summer and he couldn’t do it. She brings out the best in him.
He has the soul of an artist. He is a wild, ridiculously talented artist. He mourns and grieves over his colors not being quite right. He has fits of temper that make me worry for his extremities – not the ear, baby, not the ear.
And when anything good happens in his life, he shares it with Emily. If he’s heartsick about something, he shares it with Emily.
In a letter to her this morning, he asked her how she was getting along in California after the rocky last two days. (He hasn’t told her about Milo… he’s just assuming that if something has been heavy on his heart, she already knows about it.)
This boy is the most romantic, whimsical child. Yet – for outward appearances, he claims to hate Valentine’s. He loathes it. He wants to give away Black Hearts for Valentines, and bark at people. He is loyal to his girlfriend. He worries because all the girls at school have crushes on him. He doesn’t want to upset the delicate balance of 2nd grade, long-distance love. I told him once that it’s okay for him to be friends with girls. He looked at me like I’d just sprung a leak and was spewing green paint. It was the most ludicrous thing he’d ever heard. “Mom,” he sighed, rolling his eyes, “I have a Girlfriend.” Apparently the one cancels out anything else.
So, we made his Valentine’s Cards tonight. With a Dylan Thomas quote on it, and a goof-ball picture of Ben dressed in crazy glasses and a gnarly Halloween wig. This is the best offering he can muster. The rest of his class will all bring cards, chocolates, lollipops and spiderman pencils. He is bringing poetry no 2nd grader will comprehend. It is what we could do to win his participation. He and I looked up dark and random Valentines quotes online, and this is the one that resonated with him.
He is such a poet mommy’s son. He can be all morose and twisted and esoteric, yet full of love and warmth for only a choice few – mostly Emily, and occasionally, the rest of us in his family.