My middle school daughter will wake up today to find a big pink stuffed dog clutching an "xoxo" bone in it's mouth sitting on her dresser. It's super soft and super cute.
When she comes downstairs she will find another giant pink dog - this one a long "wiener dog" that says, "I love you this much" down the side. It will be sitting in her seat at the kitchen table. In the bay window that's currently adorned with Valentine clings.
She'll find a total "sugar cereal" as I call them sitting on the kitchen table beside her bowl. Beside it will be a heart-shaped card and a pack of gum. And she'll find a Valentine cupcake packed in her lunch bag today.
None of these things are things I would normally do. I don't let my kids have "sugar cereals" before school. And I rarely pack desserts in their lunches - I'm kind of a stickler about good nutrition, especially during the school day. (I do let them have dessert after dinner though!)
When she told me she wanted a big stuffed animal for Valentines, my knee-jerk thought was, "Really? That's the last thing I need to buy you." She already has a lot of stuffed animals.
But then I saw it from another angle. I can refuse to buy her the giant stuffed animal she wants, deeming that frivolous or unnecessary. But I have distinct memories myself of wanting to win the giant stuffed animals at the amusement parks. What is it about people-sized plush bears? And what is it about adults that forgets what it is about giant plush bears?
And from yet another angle, I don't want her to feel she needs a boyfriend in order to receive Valentine's gifts. And sure I could let Valentine's go by without packing her a pink sugar-sprinkled, white sugar-iced chocolate cupcake in her lunch. Tell her she can have it at dinner. But then she'd watch all the other kids eating their red dye #12 treats today and she would feel deprived. Maybe one of her friends would share their heart-shaped cookies with her but that's not what I want either.
I want to be the one who surprises her and satisfies her wishes. I want her to feel no need to look outside our home to feel fully loved. And so, I drove home yesterday accompanied by two giant pink dogs. And I couldn't have been more thrilled.
Sometimes you have to buy twice as many of the thing you didn't want to buy in the first place because that's what you really want.
What Valentine suprises are up your sleeve today?