Friday, February 14, 2014

A heart-shaped cat

I posted this sweet story from the Tampa Bay Times yesterday to Twitter and Facebook. It's about an 11-year-old boy's search for the perfect Valentine for his first girlfriend. I asked people to share their first Valentine's gifts from someone other than their parents or classmates.

No one played along.

I know Valentine's Day isn't for everyone, but this story struck me, especially this line: "They don't make Valentines about holding hands." Love can get complicated and adults get cynical, but those first tries at love children make are innocent and sweet and bumbling and earnest.

That story made me remember the first gift I received from a boy, which, now I think about it, might have been a Christmas gift, not a Valentine. Either way, the sentiment was the same. Ryan was my first boyfriend, though I think we only held hands once. We "went out," going nowhere of course, in third and fourth grade, but after we "broke up" in fifth grade, we remained friends. Ryan was my best friend all through school, the person who helped me survive the mean girls of junior high and called me on my own teenaged bullshit. When we were 11ish, he gave me a white, ceramic, heart-shaped trinket box with a blue-eyed, long-haired cat painted on the lid. The box fell off a shelf not long after I got it, but I saved the lid for years. Somewhere in moving during the college years, the heart-shaped cat was lost and I hadn't thought about it in years, but that story reminded me of it and how I felt when I opened it: a little disappointed because even as an 11-year-old, schmaltzy cats and ceramic hearts weren't really my thing (I was more of a unicorn girl), but also so special because someone had taken the time to pick out a gift just for me.

Do you remember your first Valentine?


Erica said...

I think it was around 4th grade or so... My "boyfriend" gave me a business sized envelope stuffed with conversation hearts and I loved it. I wrote "to zach (a sweet guy)" on his standard valentine and the sweet guy part was a big deal. Anna has already gotten a valentine in the mail this year from her boyfriend, goodness.

Michelle said...

I think I was in seventh grade when my boyfriend gave me a ring that promptly turned my finger green in less than a week. Ah. Sweet memories.

Jessica said...

I have no idea what my first Valentine's Day gift was. I'm trying to remember if my school did some sort of send-a-gift thing? (For Christmas you could send Ho-Ho Grams as a fundraiser: they were ho-hos with a message attached and I can't remember what the fundraiser was for.) I kind of think they did them for Valentine's Day, too? If so, I'm sure I got one from my best friend. (And send her one, too)

Otherwise, I'm sure my first non-family Valentine was from my husband back when we were dating. He was my first boyfriend! And I was in college!

HereWeGoAJen said...

I don't remember my first Valentine! I suspect I probably got something around fourth or fifth grade because there was a little boy in my class who "liked" me but I didn't like him back so I was horrified by the attention he gave me. I had a boyfriend at Valentine's day in tenth grade and he bought me chocolates and a teddy bear and I was definitely not into that. By eleventh grade, I was dating Matt and we fell into old married people habits quite young so I don't remember anything specific he got me either.