Flashback to 6th grade, Valentine's Day – It was the first time in my elementary school experience that we were not given a class list. There would be no compulsory distribution of valentines to every single member of the class—except, of course, for those kids whose religion made them morally opposed to commercial holidays popularized by florists and greeting card companies; they would be participating in an "alternate activity."
There would be no class party. No relay races run while balancing Sweethearts Conversation Hearts on a spoon—you know, the heart shapes candies bearing messages like "Be Mine" and "You're Sweet," the ones that no one actually likes to eat so you have to use them for things like relay races. Ours was to be an understated celebration of the holiday. I remember nothing else about the day except that one of my classmates, a BOY, handed a Valentine card to me. It was of the homemade variety, a big cut-out heart with a drawing of cupid, bow drawn about to release his arrow toward a heart. The caption read, "Your heart's hit in the right place."
Predictably, we both pretended that it hadn't happened and I don't think I showed it to anyone except my mother. I wasn't even sure what he had meant by the handwritten message except that he wanted me to be his Valentine, oh yes, and also Lisa T and Lisa B as I was later to discover that they had also received different versions of the same sentiment from Chris—talk about covering your bases.
On Friday, I was cleaning the papers out of David's backpack when I once again discovered a homemade Valentine. The message "To Mom" was pretty straightforward. When I showed it to David, he touched it and then smiled, but like Chris seemed to have very little more to say about it. This time, I don't need cupid's arrow to convince me of my love for all three of my boys, Michael included. Just please don't tell me if David also had Valentines for Lisa T or Lisa B.