January 20, 2013

Valentine’s Day Isn’t Just About Love

We are only a few weeks away from one of the greatest holidays of all time – Valentine’s Day. I know what you’re thinking, “Awwwww, he must really love and treat his wife great on that day.” Nothing could be further from truth. I do love my wife (and believe I treat her wonderful every day of the year – okay, almost every day), but I rarely get or do anything special for her on this day. My love for the holiday has nothing to do with love.

Since my first Valentine’s Day Box in grade school, I have been hooked on this holiday. There is nothing like decorating an old shoe box with different pieces of colored construction paper to make a work of art. With a shoe box as a canvas, what kid isn’t a Picasso or Michelangelo? Even now, the thundering crunch scissors make when cutting through a piece of construction paper make childhood memories come rushing back. Maybe that’s a little exaggerated, but you get the idea.

I made several Valentine’s Day boxes as a kid, but the one I remember most was the Male Box. Yes, I spelled it correctly. It was my mom’s idea. We decorated the box with blue and red construction paper to look like a mail box one would find on a corner (back in those days, mail boxes could be found on several corners throughout town, not just in front of the post office).
Since I am a boy, my mom thought it would be cute if we did a little play on words and made it a Male Box. I do believe I protested, but she’s my mom and I was a little kid; it was a battle I wasn’t going to win.

I still enjoy creating Valentine boxes with my kids and I try not to come up with ideas that are silly or make them look like they don’t know how to spell. Of course my oldest no longer celebrates the holiday with a box, but I still have my youngest to help and nothing could make me happier. There is one little problem. I’ve been racking my brain for the past couple of weeks to come up with some ideas. I don’t want any run-of-the-mill ideas; I want ideas that are nothing less than pure genius.

In the past we have created a mug of hot chocolate made from an oatmeal tube, construction paper and iridescent tinsel (looked like whipped cream); a robot from a boot box, paper towel tubes and duct tape; and an Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile from two-liter bottles, paper mache, Styrofoam, paint and (my favorite part) the round discs from push-up ice cream as the wheels.

My all time favorite project I helped make with my oldest daughter was the toilet. I don’t remember the theme we used for this one, but there were several options – You Make Me Flush or Don’t Be a Stinker, Be My Valentine. The most special part of this toilet was that it appeared to work. In the base of the toilet, we put a toy pottery wheel and attached a pole to the stuffed animal and the wheel. When the toilet handle was pressed it appeared as though the stuffed animal was being flushed down the toilet. (See what I mean by pure genius?)

My kids have won the praise of their fellow classmates (and prizes) for some of the boxes and I’m hoping we can come up two more masterpieces over the next two years. After that, I don’t get to help make any more boxes and have to pretend I enjoy this holiday because of its relationship to love. I don’t know if we will ever top the toilet, but I’m sure we can come up with something better than a feMale Box.

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