Ryan Trares: Gifts from the heart for Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air around the Trares household.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and Anthony has fallen hard into the holiday.

I’m not talking about a little crush at school; just the mention of such a thing would have him howling in embarrassment.

No, instead, Anthony is ga-ga over making Valentines for his friends, family and everyone else he can think of.

The start came a few weeks back, when his teacher sent home a note saying that their class would be exchanging cards for Valentine’s Day. A list of all of his classmates was included, as well as instructions that the notes should not include food items, trinkets, toys, or anything besides a nice note.

We went to work figuring out the kind of Valentines he wanted. His big thing is Pokémon these days, so we scoured the local grocery stores and pharmacies looking for some Pikachu and Squirtle-themed notes. No luck.

Thankfully, we were able to locate a few on Amazon. As soon as they arrived in the mail, Anthony had pulled out his class list and addressed one for each of his classmates. He was all ready for his Valentine’s Day party — by mid-January.

But his passion didn’t stop there. He wanted to make heart-festooned papers for his mom, and crafted a themed scavenger hunt that led to a centerpiece made from a cardboard tube, covered in foam hearts in pink and red, and with a sparkly decoration spelling out “L-O-V-E.”

During a visit to my mom’s house recently, Anthony crafted card after card for people. A super-secret operation, where I was forbidden from investigating, makes me think that he even made something for me. We’ll have to see on Valentine’s Day.

Even our pets are feeling the love. In a flurry of excitement, Anthony pulled out a piece of paper, folded it carefully, and took off with his red marker. He drew a little boy, and a four-legged figure, with a heart underneath. The card was for our cat, Olaf. As a present, Anthony left a crinkly piece of tissue paper for Olaf to play with.

A week later, I still hear that cat come by and roll around in ecstasy.

Valentine’s Day is kind of a silly holiday, made worse by the commercialization that surrounds it. Our family has never taken it too seriously, only enough to show some appreciation for the people we love in our lives. There is usually a homemade meal together, some small gift exchange, maybe a box of chocolates. Nothing extravagant.

So it makes me happy that Anthony has found joy in the aspect of giving simple gifts that he’s made himself. He’s focused on what’s right about the holiday, rather than getting too caught up in what to give and what he gets. I hope that mindset stays with him.

Now, to pester him a little bit more about a special someone at school.

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected]