I am writing this post about Valentine’s Day while willing myself to not forget to go down and get the stuffed animals from the car and put the ribbons on them and make a little card.
More than once the tooth fairy has accidentally missed our condo (she was super busy, yo) and, in December, St. Nicholas totally forgot to put stuff in the kids’ shoes for St. Nicholas Day and I had to pretend to use the restroom and go out and throw candy in their boots at six in the morning like an idiot.
Every year, Bunny and Pip know that there will be a gift for them on the dining room table on Valentine’s Day morning. They count on it. It’s tradition.
Last Valentine’s Day came nine days after my husband left. I had no idea it was Valentine’s Day until I happened to be in Walgreen’s at night on the 13th. Actually, maybe I realized it was Valentine’s Eve earlier in the day and my friend R.C. came over and I went to Walgreen’s specifically to get them something? It’s all a blur. Nine days after he left meant that I hadn’t eaten in nine days. That can be disorienting. The whole first six weeks are a blur for me. And that’s probably a good thing.
So there I was, standing in the heavily picked-over, slightly discounted, seasonal aisle at Walgreens feeling sad and numb and panicked simultaneously. I was hysterical about money at the time – completely unsure as to how much I had, how much I’d get and, if this came to a divorce, how much a divorce lawyer would cost. I allotted myself five dollars for each child.
There were a couple fairly cute small bears that played music. They each cost $3.99. There were little bracelets for a dollar each. I would make my cards at home. A slim Valentine’s to be sure. No candy. Both gifts were pretty tiny. Not really worth excitedly getting up early and waking me up and rushing to the dining room as Bunny traditionally did.
In the morning, true to form, Bunny did just that. She and Pip were thrilled with their gifts. Charmed and overjoyed. They loved their handmade cards which I had filled with loving sentiments and signed from me and their dad. They pressed the little bears’ hands and made them sing.
And both of those damn bears sang break-up songs. Some asshole in the Cheap-Ass-Lead-Filled-Toys Division of some multi-million dollar corporation greenlighted Valentine bears that sang “Baby, Love” and “Build Me Up, Buttercup.” Probably based on the titles – which sound Valentiney enough, I guess.
But let’s go over the words those bears sing, shall we?
Why do you build me up (build me up) Buttercup, baby
Just to let me down (let me down) and mess me around
And then worst of all (worst of all) you never call, baby
When you say you will (say you will) but I love you still
And this feel-good ditty:
Oh baby love, my baby love
I need you, oh how I need you
But all you do is treat me bad
Break my heart and leave me sad
Tell me, what did I do wrong
To make you stay away so long
My children loved those bears. Loved them. LOVED THEM. Isn’t that nice? Cause I was worried they’d be disappointed, see, but no….NO…they were thrilled. They played those Bears of Irony over and over and over and over and…
“Hey, Pip, press your bear on the count of 3 and let’s get them to sing at the same time.”
“Bunny! Bunny! Let’s march around the table with our bears like a parade.”
Oh…those bears….those BEARS…that swirling, dizzying vortex of…bears and...laughter…taunting laughter…and Diana Ross….and…who the hell sings….wait! Let me google…The Foundations? Really? Who the hell are The…whatever…those BEARS! Those. BEARSSSSS! (pant, pant, pant, collapse in sweaty heap.)
This year will be a much better Valentine’s Day – in part because it couldn’t possibly be a worse Valentine’s Day. But mostly because I feel really good and my kids are excited and happy and healthy and that’s all I ever want (pretty much…though flowers are nice.)
And because the stuffed animals I got them this year are bigger and softer and COMPLETELY SILENT.