What happened to the old days when there were a couple of (zealously high-achieving, crafty and brilliant) room mothers who hosted the class Valentine’s Party?

Things have changed.

“The Valentine’s Party is on Tuesday, and all parents are welcome.”

Translate that in Mom Language: If you don’t come, your child will be the only one abandoned and orphaned in a room filled with hearts, glitter, cupcakes, and affection.

Multiply this by the fact that the PreK party happened at the same time, in the same school, in a different classroom.

I am one mom with two boys with separate, coinciding Valentine’s parties.  Plus, I’m not exactly in my prime for hosting/attending a Valentine’s anything.

I arrived at the end of the day, to bring my Valentines home (with their Valentine stash).  Tyler’s class was lining up with their jackets, coats and post-party hangover.  Tucker’s class had fifteen minutes left, and they were eating the last of their sprinkled cupcakes.

I got there just before the end of each.

My children were somber on the car ride home.
“Mommy, why didn’t you come?”
“I thought you would come.  All the other moms came.”
“I was watching for you.  But you didn’t come.”

There are so many answers to this question.

I could say I was working, which I truly was.  But I don’t want them to think I choose work over them.  I could say… many things, really.

“Buddy, I just couldn’t go to a party today.”

“Why?”

“Because Daddy was my Valentine, and I’m missing him today.  My heart felt sad, so I just couldn’t try to be a party girl.”

“Maybe you can come next time?”

“Maybe I will, kiddo.”

That night, Grandma asked, “So, guys, tell me about your Valentine’s party.”

And Tucker, so sweetly, said, “My mommy came just in time.”

“Did she?  Did she get a cupcake?”

“Well, no. She came after the cupcakes.”

In a subtle voice and off to the side, I told her about the Mom Guilt I’m carrying for my inability to be in two places at one time, for my incapacity to turn on the party face at the scheduled times.

Tucker is a little listener.  Seemingly busy with another task, he put his hand on my arm.  He made sure he had my attention.

“Mommy, did you hear me?  Did you hear what I said?  You came just in time.”

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