My children were born a little over eighteen months apart, which means that it has been very easy for most of their lives to treat them similarly. I mean, those early days were the most different, I suppose, when Monkey wanted nothing more than to nurse while Chickadee wanted nothing more than to be read that same book againagainAGAINMAMAAGAIN! But for the most part, they’re nearly the same age, right? They’ve always had the same bedtime. They get the same allowance.
Obviously there are differences: Because they’re not the same gender, because they have different classes and different friends and different interests and different personalities. I’ve never been one of those “I treat both of my children exactly the same” sorts of people, because I think that can only possibly have a prayer of working if both children are, in fact, exactly the same. And they’re not.
This year has been, for me, a stark study in divergence. This is where “same” gives way to “different,” over and over.
Chickadee is in middle school. Monkey is still in elementary school.
Chickadee is deep in the throes of puberty. Monkey still smells like a damp puppy and has trouble remembering to wear pants.
Chickadee is finding herself, unfolding into a young adult. Monkey is struggling, sometimes faltering, and in many ways regressing.
Suddenly they don’t seem very similar at all, to me. Suddenly their differences make my breath catch, make me anxious about the future and protective of the present.
I tried to bring up Valentine’s Day about a month ago. Monkey—as I expected—queried as to how much time before the big event, and then let me know that he couldn’t possibly think about something that was so far off. Chickadee was quick to inform me that in middle school, MOM, we don’t do valentines. Because that’s for little kids.
I said okay.
I made a bulk purchase on Amazon of Valentine’s Day Fun Dip packets—gross little pouches of sugar powder that come with a licking stick to eat it with.
Here I should admit that I’ve never bought candy for the various school Valentine’s parties the kids have had, before. In fact, I hardly ever buy candy, period. I’m not sure what I was thinking, other than that it was a good deal, and I figured the kids would be pleased.
The candy arrived and both children eyed it suspiciously.
“Why’d you buy ALL THAT CANDY?” asked Monkey.
“Yeah,” said Chickadee. “That’s not like you. Also, you have a ton of it! Monkey doesn’t need all that!” I nodded, thoughtful. “Maybe I could take a few, to give to some of my friends?” she added, hopefully.
“Sure,” I said.
This morning I dumped a box out on the table and left it there with a pen, for Monkey. That will be the reminder he needs, this afternoon, to go through his class list and address the packets to his classmates.
Chickadee will remember on her own. Of course.
Maybe I thought Monkey stood a better chance of positive reception if his Valentine’s wishes came with sugar. Maybe I realized this may be the last time Chickadee thinks of Valentine’s Day merely as a chance to giggle with her friends and eat heart-shaped junk food.
Maybe I just want to see them sitting head to head at the kitchen table, one last time, addressing valentines and discussing which lollipop flavor is the best one.
So many things have changed, but not everything.
Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Here’s to the sweetness of love, in all its ever-morphing forms.
Here’s hoping Chickadee learns to just enjoy the holiday with her friends. That’s the best way to celebrate it anyways. Otherwise, junior high and high school (and the rest of life) can make this one vicious holiday. (even married, it still turns out to be a sucky day for me. Every year, without fail.)
Yay! Love IS sweet. And my heart goes out to Monkey who is so very special. (And even to Chickadee because middle school is sooo rough.) I imagine you’ll be standing by, camera in hand, to record for posterity their Valentine’s efforts.
Thank you, Mir. I look forward to Thursday all week long because of you. Thursday is the new Friday.
“…this may be the last time Chickadee thinks of Valentineâ€™s Day merely as a chance to giggle with her friends and heart-shaped junk food.” So sad but so true – I think it was around 7th grade when they started selling roses or candy as a fund-raiser – coveted items that would then be delivered to the recipient right there in class for all the world to see. Hope, humiliation, heartache – all to be had for $2.50.
I like the idea of the candy valentines :) Something other than just a random piece of paper – sugar and hyperactivity too! ha.
My Chickadee isn’t allowed to bring valentines this year (6th grade). But my female Monkey is only in 3rd, so she gets to have the fun. I should have taken a picture of the two of them working on my baby’s valentines together. It was precious.
I love when post something sentimental like this. Take one of those packs of candy and put it in your special box. ;-)
I love me some Fun Dip…not even kidding, it is like when you dipped your finger in the powdered jello. yum.
Happy Valentines Day!
Mmmm, Fun Dip. The reason to go to the movies when I was a kid.
Smart mom…find the thing to keep them grounded just a little longer…seems like it will be an on-going theme as they get older and in other situations. Hope your family has a great Valentines weekend.
I had to not buy fun dip because I would eat it all… wouldn’t really help in my losing weight quest.
Sweet…and sour…and a little bit dippy! That’s love!
Mmmmmm, Fun Dip, one of my childhood favorites. Apparently one of my little one’s faves also, as she commented that someone brought it to school yesterday for V-day.
My 8th grader has the “buy a flower for your Valentine” today. She is not concerned with getting any from boys yet, but she is getting two that she knows of. One from her Volleyball Coach (Me) and one from one of her friends. She had the idea that I should buy the 8 v-ball players roses, so I did, I thought it was a great idea. Here’s to hoping that both your Chickadee and Mine have at least a few more years of fun Valentine’s Days ahead.
I kept hinting that maybe they wanted to make a special valentine for someone… Nah. Not there yet- not even aware of what I was hinting! But I still make them get out the doilies and construction paper and make the stuff, even if no one else does.
I love that stuff. We are having a blizzard tonight and tomorrow (yes, in Louisiana–Hell is freezing over you know…the Saints won the Superbowl) and I haven’t made it to the store. I never think to do these type of things ahead of time. When I grow up, I wanna be just like you.
Fun Dip = awesome. And I still haven’t stopped…I have Fun Dip in the cupboard right now.
A good mom always knows what her kiddos need – usually before the kiddos in question do. You are a GREAT mom because you got it on sale. :)