It’s one of my favorite school memories…making the Valentine Box to take to school. I loved getting out the colored paper, paper doilies, glue sticks, and glitter, and creating something special. Every year it was a new challenge, to put my whole personality into this one project. After all, it represented me, to every person who might slip a card inside.
We’ve moved around a lot since we’ve had kids, and I’ve been surprised by how seldom my kids get to make their own boxes. With all the school districts we’ve lived in, you’d think we would have had many chances to show our creative side in pink and red. But it seems like more and more schools are making the Valentine box a class project, in a group activity. At the end of each January I look for the paper from school, some kind of hint that we might be in charge of it ourselves this year, but most years it never comes.
Then it finally happened. Two years ago, when my youngest son was in the third grade, he got his first chance to make his own box, all by himself, at home. We discussed it briefly. I had plenty of saved up ideas, as you can imagine. But he already knew what he wanted to do. It wasn’t a surprise. The kid has lived and breathed Legos since he was old enough to be trusted not to swallow them (having two older brothers who are also Lego crazy didn’t hurt).
So when he said he wanted a “Lego Valentine Box” I had a clear mental image of what that meant. We’d go through his latest creations, take lots of pictures of them, and then plaster them to the side of a nice sturdy cardboard box. Maybe I could convince him to throw in a red heart or two for good measure.
But Sam had other ideas. He rolled his eyes and patiently said, “No Mom, I’ve got it covered..” and he disappeared upstairs. I worked that night, and by the time I got home, he’d finished his creation.
His Lego Valentine Box.
Complete with red heart built into the side. Complete with pictures of his favorite dog in the world on the side. And complete with a full Lego Rock Band in concert on top. Of course big brothers helped create the tiny instruments; they couldn’t let Sam have all the fun.
He lugged it to school in a cardboard box, and by the time I showed up for the Valentine Party, he’d won “most detailed’ in the Valentine Box Contest.
I’m thrilled that my boy got to know the fun of making his own box. His own unique idea and his own design, not some variation of what the whole class was doing as a group project.
It was one of my favorite parts of school and I’m glad I had the sense to stay out of his way so he could have his own experience. Because who knows if we’ll get another chance to build our own box again. I mean ‘who knows if he’ll get another chance to build his own box again’.
Yeah, that’s what I meant.
Have your kids been allowed to make their own boxes at home, or does everyone do it in school now? What fun, geeky ideas have you come up with?