When I was a kid, I loved Valentine's Day. It had nothing to do with 3rd grade declarations of love or devotion, but it had everything to do with the candy. Little chalky hearts. The ruby red suckers. Gum.
On very rare occasion, somebody's mom would go totally hog-wild and buy chocolate for the class. That mom always held a very special place in my heart.
I love you, Mrs. Swiebocki, wherever you are.
As I sort through all the notes from the three CPS schools my sons attend, I am once again saddened by the no-candy rule. I understand that allergies are an extremely serious issue. I also appreciate the fact that some kids are diabetic and would require separate purchases. But couldn't we just set some parameters instead of abolishing candy from the entire face of CPS? It may require a little extra diligence from parents and teachers alike, but just about everything we engage in as parents and teachers requires effort.
Truth be told, I'm very wary. If CPS is so legitimately concerned about allergies and sugar, why do they turn around and hawk nut-covered taffy apples during every fall fundraiser?
As I reviewed the list of recommended "alternatives" to candy, I was sadly uninspired:
Because nothing says fun like paper clips.
I ran into a neighborhood mom at Target the other day as I reluctantly dumped Valentine's Day pencils into my cart. Despite my feeble attempts, I could not avert my longing gaze from her shopping cart full of traditional Valentine's Day goodies.
"Buying pencils, eh? Oh. I forgot. You're CPS." She said this as though she just remembered I was half sea turtle.
"Well, I hope the kids enjoy their writing utensils. It's just another reason I prefer the Catholic School System. Candy is not our enemy. Satan is."
The exchange stayed with me all day. The continuous eviction of anything remotely fun from the public school system has left me dispirited. Even non-religious holidays are often re-named to avoid offending anyone. It's not your kid's "birthday" anymore, but instead, "your child's special day." Cupcakes are strictly verboten, and parents are again referred back to the list of acceptable "treats" that closely resembles the back-to-school supply catalogue I received in August.
Fed up, I brought up the Catholic school option to my husband that evening. For a person known for her frugality, my desire to spend money on schooling instantly aroused my husband's suspicions. He started questioning my motives and didn't buy the old "it's all for the children" argument.
Finally, after about two hours of debate, he nailed it on the head.
"This is about the candy again, isn't it?"
I am so transparent.
And I was totally looking forward to raiding my kids' Valentine's Day loot.
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.