Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Val-y

                                            Pablo Neruda was a love-poem writing champ.

"I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”
-from 100 Love Sonnets

In sixth grade this year no one is allowed to buy Valentines, or give candy or flowers or balloons. Instead everyone gets the same link to a page with a heart on it, which can be printed out at home 26 times (that's how many kids are in the class) on regular white paper from the printer. On it, you have to write, To: the person's name and From: your name, and then "one note of appreciation".

In my head I am  thinking: What? Plain paper? "Note of Appreciation"? What kind of sterile, lame, utterly stupid, whole foods, organic, helicopter-parent, green, straight from farm to table, everyone gets a trophy, goddam assignment is this? On the outside I say, "Are you sure it's just plain white computer paper?" And then I stand there like an old person who understands nothing, with my eyes squinting and head tilted: This makes sense does not.

But then the sixth grader does the assignment, easily and without complaint, and, well, every single note of appreciation is beautiful and sweet and heart-felt, and I wish I could get and give these kinds of Valentines from now on.

Here's one for you:

Dear Valentine,
 Just when I think you might be in my imagination, I hear from you. Thank you for taking time with me even if (especially if) it means you are procrastinating. You are thoughtful and sweet and have a great sense of humor.

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