Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Valentine's Day - to play or not to play?

Unpacking my daughter's daycare bag the other day I discovered a piece of paper with a list of names: "Valentine's" - it is a list of the proper spelling of the names of each kid she goes to daycare with. Just having gone through this whole "Santa at daycare" thing, my gut response  is along the lines of, "what the eff... another damn holiday we're forced to participate in?" I glance at my calendar and I see we have a "holiday" popping up every few weeks: Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter... none of which we really celebrate in our home. Here I am again faced with my daughter being in a daycare that does indeed celebrate these holidays. 

What do I do? 

Well, it's Sunday morning and here I am making pink play dough and preparing little heart gift boxes for each of those snotty little brats. (What? I'm feeling like my fifteen year old self, angsty and high-falutin.)

While I stir the playdough, this is what's going through my mind:

"This is bullshit."

"Why am I doing this because someone told me, 'it's what you do'?"

"This is a holiday created so people will buy more; it's a sales gimmick. Do I really want to support this?"

"Well, I do aspire to be a DIY mom and since I suck royally at it, this is giving me an opportunity to do something crafty."

"Look how pretty that bubblegum pink turned out!"

"Maybe holidays aren't so horrible"

"Oh gods, did that thought process really just happen?" 

Hmmm, so maybe it's not the holiday itself that pisses me off. Maybe it's just the expectation and assumption?

This is me being torn in two. This seems to be something that happens to me during every single holiday marked on our calendar except for Halloween. That one makes sense to me. There is an assumption that because we live in the Western World we're climbing over each other to decorate for, bake for, make for, and spend more for various holidays. 

We are told we are supposed to do these things. So, shouldn't we? Shouldn't my partner stroll in the door this Thursday armed with a dozen red roses and a piece of glorious jewellery? Shouldn't he make reservations at our favourite restaurant and spend a week's worth of groceries on one meal? Or better yet, attempt to cook in my stead and insult my taste buds? (no offence honey - but we both know how good your cooking is *smooch*) It is after all the FOURTEENTH!

I, personally, want to celebrate love every day. 

I think that if a family wants to participate in these rituals it should be up to them rather than being told by an institution that they have to do it. I do on the other hand understand we live in the western world and this is how daycare and schools get by - having a theme to focus on. Hell, it's how many adults get by - looking forward to one holiday or another. While I would LOVE for there to be more themes that focus on the earth, the arts and how to grow our children into magnificent people, I realize that I can't control the activities that are going to come up in celebration of these holidays. I can control how we choose to participate in them. 

So, rather than buy a box of 
(insert the name of latest trendy kids show character) cards and simply fill them out with the names of the other toddlers in her daycare - proper spelling and all - we're making playdough and passing on the recipe for the other parents. Yes, it even has a cute little saying...

It's still a cheesy valentine but what do you do? 

If you're me, you cave and you play nice and vow that as she gets older to educate her on the actual history of these rituals and holidays. To teach her she can celebrate them if she chooses and how she wants to.

I figure it's up to us as parents to ensure she knows of the celebrations that come from her ancestors that might not get celebrated at daycare and school. How many schools do you know that do crafts for Purim or Imbolc? 

Most importantly, it's up to us to teach her how to love every day. Not because we're told to, but because we feel it in our hearts. Even if it is like putty in her hand. 

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