Life with a Smile: Nothing says love like camouflage and boogers

Published 1:23 pm Monday, February 13, 2017

By Kate Snyder

Contributing writer

I saw something odd at Kroger the other day. It was a “bouquet” of Hershey bars, tied together with a giant camouflage bow. To be clear, the idea of a chocolate bouquet is genius, but the bow concerned me. Since when is camo the color of romance?

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The truth is I’m a bit of a Valentine’s Day snob. I love the holiday — LOVE IT. A whole day dedicated to rampant cuteness and declarations of affection? Yes, please.

I have been known to go all-out with sparkly red nail wraps, entire meals of heart-shaped foods and light-up heart earrings.

But I sometimes get a bit angsty about the whole thing, too.  I grouse about the amount of candy that comes home from school and tend to invest way too much time and energy into making valentines with my kids.

Yes, making them. I have issues with store-bought valentines. I admit it. They just bug me, mostly because they’re inevitably plastered with licensed characters and overflowing with gender stereotypes.

I encourage my kids to go for homemade, but now that I have three little love bugs in the throes of valentine exchanges, it’s no small feat. Between them, our family is responsible for producing 68 valentines for classmates this year, plus additional tokens of affection for teacher, grandparents, etc. That’s a lot of homemade valentines.

My oldest daughter was no problem. She cheerfully cut lopsided hearts out of construction paper, adorned them with stickers and wrote a short poem on each. Pink hearts for the girls. Blue hearts for the boys. Done and done.

My feisty 3-year-old helped me make melted star crayons for her classmates, but is now having second thoughts about distributing them. She prefers to carry the whole pile of them around in a Tinkerbell backpack, which she guards with the ferocity of a mother wolverine. I think it’s going to be a game-day decision whether she agrees to part with any of them on Valentine’s Day. Such is life.

Then there’s my son who initially declared his intention to only make valentines for his (numerous) girlfriends, but was ultimately persuaded to share his love more broadly with classmates of both genders.

He opted for “valen-slimes” and we had a blast creating pink and green bags of slime, which he gleefully declared look like guts and snot respectively. I guess when you’re six, nothing says love quite like boogers. And camouflage-wrapped chocolate. That’s really all you need.