Valentine’s Day in Elementary School Was The Best, & Here’s Why

Picture this: it’s 2006, and you just woke up a little earlier than you usually do to make it to your fourth grade class. Why? Well duh, it’s Valentine’s Day. The extra fifteen minutes in the morning gives you the perfect amount of time to find your favorite Bobby Jack shirt, the black one featuring cartoon hearts around your beloved monkey icon. You rummage through your drawers looking for the perfect pair of black gauchos to match your top –– cool but comfy for the holiday.  You barely have time to throw your hair back with a pink scrunchie, #festive, before your mom yells down the hall, signaling you to get in the car.

By this point, you’re running behind, and you almost forget the “That’s So Raven” Valentine’s Day card you made out for your entire class. Thankfully, you grab them before hopping into the car. Sitting in the backseat next to your seatbelt is a Valentine’s Day-themed Webkinz and a box of candy hearts. You immediately squeal with joy and thank your Mom for being the best valentine ever. On the ride to school, you debate on what you should name your 27 Webkinz and settle on Joe, after your second favorite Jonas Brother.

Your mom drops you off at the car loop and you sprint to class, only slowing down as you walk past the fifth grade safety patrol officers. School drudges by today because everyone is anticipating the last hour of the day when the Valentine’s Day party will begin. As soon as the clock hits 1 p.m. everyone pulls out their handmade Valentine’s Day mailbox, positioning it strategically on their desk. You take a moment to look at yours with pride; you really outdid yourself with cursive writing using your strawberry-scented marker.

Your teacher announces your name and you carefully reach into your backpack, making sure not to bend your perfectly sealed Valentine’s Day cards. When you pass your crush's desk, you double check his name on the outside of the card and grin sheepishly, knowing that you dotted the I in your last name with a heart, just in case he wasn’t getting the multiple hints you kept throwing him. You return to your desk, a little nervous to watch him open the card, but your nerves melt away when you realize your best friend left you a super cute foil card on your desk and fun dip. Who needs boys?

Valentine’s Day as an adult can be great, too — you can go out to a fancy dinner and grabbing drinks with your significant other, have a wild Galentine's celebration or just show yourself a little extra love are all fun options to celebrate the holiday. Yet, I think in some ways, we will always miss the simplicity of Valentine’s Day when we were in elementary school. You had crushes and drama even back then, but at the end of the day, a stuffed animal and some candy were all you needed to enjoy yourself.

Being a young adult is complicated, and Valentine’s Day is typically a holiday you either love or hate. Regardless of how you feel about what it represents, try to hold onto some of that spirit from your younger days. On this Valentine’s Day, remember: Love yourself first, let your friends and family know you care, and know that your mom will always be the best Valentine.