Friday, February 13, 2015

Isn't that Special

I know, I know. I'm a slacker. Except, really, I'm not. I haven't had one normal week of work in I
don't know how long. Work is where I write, in between customers, and if I'm not here, it means I'm off and running with no time to get my thoughts together enough to share with you. But here I am, today, at work, in eight degree weather, where I suspect, I will be alone for much of the day. Sucks for business, but good for blogging.

So this one stems from a conversation in email that a friend and I had yesterday. The whole crux of it was, "Why does everything have to be special?" That's a good damned question.

I'm not against fun. I feel I need to preface that. But some of us don't get why everything needs to be a huge thing either. I don't know if it's the 50 Shades madness or what, but when did Valentine's Day become the new Christmas? It's now a gifting holiday? I feel like I wrote something like this before, but I'm not going back to look. I name these entries sometimes where I'd have no idea how to look up the subject matter. Maybe it was complaining about Easter becoming Christmas too. This notion that every holiday is bigger than it really is, or what's become of it is so far off what the meaning is supposed to be.

Now, Valentine's Day IS a "Hallmark Holiday" and should be treated as such. I'm certainly not against celebrating the idea of love. Or celebrating chocolate, which for the record, I'm a huge fan of Lindt truffles and Russell Stover crèmes. And back when we were footloose and fancy free, pre-E and sometimes after E being born, I wasn't turning down jewelry. Yay for gifts.

But I feel like everything is over the top and it's like a freight train with no stops. I find this irksome and I'm trying to figure out why. Why do I care? It's not like I feel guilt for not wanting to do things over the top or just not doing them. I think it's at least partially because other people are saying they FEEL BAD that they can't or don't or won't go crazy with gifting, decorations, fun activities centered around said holiday. It's annoying to me that people are feeling guilt over such...nonsense? Even that reason- I shouldn't care. It's really not my problem. Maybe it's that it seems like people are trying to out-do each other and I have to see it?

Maybe I just liked things during times that were more simple. It's the whole overbearing level of it that I think must be a trigger for me. Overbearing in general, in any way, helicoptering, is a trigger of annoyance to me. Like where kids feel like it's the norm to have to go overboard or it's not as "good" or "as fun". It's setting the bar really high for materialism and the need for constant stimulation. Not activity- but stimulation. I feel like the appreciation for simple is getting lost and I feel like that is allowed to bother me. Everyone has their thing, right?

My husband always says our son has too much stuff, he doesn't like when people give him gifts, and he loves to tell me how he got tape and scissors as gifts. I usually just blow off these rants, but I realize, that I'm sort of in the middle. I don't think it's a big deal for E to receive Lego sets or whatever, and truth be told, B likes when he gets those things too. It's more seeing just an abundance of stuff- like a pile, it doesn't matter what it is, it's just excess to him. Possibly his disenchantment with excess is finally rubbing off on me?

When we were kids, I distinctly remember being asked to bring an empty cereal box into school like a week before Valentine's Day. We'd spend time- remember when we had that in school for frivolous art projects in class?? - we'd spend time decorating those boxes as our "Valentine's Mailbox". Then we'd spend time making Valentine's in class, I think- that part I'm not 100% sure about. You'd be nervous and excited about who you might get one from. I'm remembering this as 1st grade I think. Ms Butler. Hoping to get one from a certain boy I won't name. But yes, I do remember every crush I had in elementary school and even nursery school. I was boy crazy from the womb. There was no sending home of a class list to make sure everyone got one. I think the teacher must have given everyone one so they'd have at least that in their box. Then they gave us like ten minutes at the end of the day to "deliver" them and then open them. Or maybe you took the box home to open it.

B asked me, tentatively, last night, if I remember boys ever giving each other Valentine's. He thought I would scream at him that he's being homophobic, which he isn't, but he wanted to know because it seemed odd to him. I actually didn't scream at him, because no, I don't think the boys ever did do that. We didn't grow up in that time of everyone gets a trophy and everyone gets a Valentine. Now, they do, and boys give each other Valentine's because you give the whole class or you give none. Don't get me wrong- I'm not against that. I now feel sad for certain kids I remember as being the picked upon, that probably had an almost empty box. But hey, we learned coping skills and disappointment from it. I didn't ever get the Valentine's I really wanted. NOT. ONCE. It also wasn't a "super special" holiday. It wasn't something parents made a big deal and it was a relatively small thing in school. It was more "something to do" craft in school because teachers had the time to do that sort of thing. I am hearing that there are parents, GOING TO THE SCHOOL, ahead of time, to decorate their kid's desk??! What the what, now?

Everyone knows I think Pinterest is the devil. Not because it makes me feel inadequate, but because it's just making everything into a big thing. Someone just told me yesterday that she went to Disney and saw a ton of people wearing some kind of "Family Shirt"- like something they got from Pinterest or Etsy. It's not the shirt so much that I object to, as someone else I know did that, and I won't say why because you won't even get it, but it ended up a hilarious mistake. It's that nothing is easy. The guilt is palpable because you now see everyone's doings & happenings. Craftings. And people seem to think their time or their kids time is ruined or going to be ruined because there aren't custom shirts, favors, cards, or decorations. When really, strip it down, when you're with the right people, get that special smile, or have that belly laugh that feels better than an orgasm, none of that tangible stuff even matters. I just don't like that kids don't know that it doesn't matter because it's all the norm.

Of course everyone is different and there are the moms that make dollhouses and dollhouse food. I had a neighbor friend with a mom who did all that and more. There are moms who don't. It's all fine. Before I get hate mail, which I have, on this topic, I'm not saying anyone is wrong for their holiday hoopla. There are people that love holidays, love doing crafts, and love just creating these memories. And their reasons are totally for the joy it is to them and it brings. I just happen to know that there are people that do this stuff, make everything, special, as yet another way of keeping up with the Joneses. Their kid can't be the one without. Theirs has to be better. Or they feel some kind of guilt - either because they work or don't, that this kind of thing should be in their genes. I'm here to tell you that if it's not, it's not. And it's all OKAY. One mom I ran into yesterday is taking her six year old daughter for a mommy & me mani-pedi as a Valentine's treat. I thought that was spectacular. It's time spend, and while it costs something, it's more experience than just needing more....stuff. Doing something with someone you love. Sure- I get that.

I just feel like a little simplicity and not so much focus on the material, the Etsy and Pinterest quality, can go a long way. I was in the bakery in town yesterday, getting cupcakes for ME, when I saw this heart cookie with pink frosting. I spontaneously grabbed one for E. I gave it to him last night as his "Valentine". He was thrilled. I'm glad that's all it takes because it wouldn't even have occurred to me to make heart shaped cake, bacon & eggs or any other food. Thank you Today Show for that useful segment.

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