Never Done: Gave custom M&M's for Valentine's Day (and then forgot to write about it on Valentine's day)
I totally meant to write about this for Valentine's day, and I promise I did some other thing I have never done yesterday (went to Nikki's apartment for the first time, got my first burger at Melt, had my first North Slope Jake Gyllenhaal siting) but I really wanted to write this one up, even though I'm a day late with it.
My dad loved Valentine's Day, and always gave my mother, my sister, and me Valentine's Day cards. If you knew my dad (the pragmatist, the scientist, the logician) then this is probably surprising to you, but if you knew him well, you also knew that he could also be quite tender and loving, and in some cases, sentimental. And he liked giving Valentines. We were a pretty non-Hallmark kind of family, so his cards were usually quirky, and sometimes hand made. I used to love to make Valentine's Day cards -- collaged with beautiful paper, ribbon, and beads, and sometimes I would sew them with gold thread.
This year I got inspired to do something completely different -- to be honest, I think I was inspired by an online ad -- and I went to the M&M's website and custom ordered two sets of candies. I ordered one set for my oldest and bestest friends (Claire, Tonia, and Karen) and the other set for Josh. When you go on the website, you first get to pick the colors you want (up to three) and then you get to choose your personalized message or image (up to four) and then you get to choose your packaging. It was very easy to pick out the messages for Claire, Tonia, and Karen. We have a language of affection that we've used since Claire's younger sister Emily could talk. Emily had seizures when she was little, and ended up with brain damage and extremely stunted language, although she is still a wonderful communicator, and much of what she talks about is what she loves and who she loves. (She loves James Taylor, she loves to play Uno, and she loves her family and friends.) She often says "I want you" which comes out sounding like "I wut you" and usually means "I love you." To get someone's attention, she will often say, "I tell you something" or "Talk to you" which comes out sounding like "Tell you sumpin" or "Tuppa you." These phrases are now deeply ingrained in my speech, having known and loved (and been loved by) Emily since she was born -- and they are, as I said, the language of affection among Claire, Tonia, Karen, and me. So it was easy to know what to put on those M&M's.
Coming up with what to put on Josh's was a little tougher, but I settled on the Yiddish love phrases ikh hob dikh lib, the eponymous ziskayt, and dzhash'n dzheni. (I love you, sweetness, Josh 'n Jenny.) Then I added a heart image to each order.
Sweet and simple, right? Definitely sweet, but not so simple. Because I actually found it embarrassing to give these gifts. I knew I wanted to, but I was embarrassed by the ... what? commercialism of it all. First there's the commercialism of the holiday, and then there's the commercialism of chocolate, and then there's the commercialism of M&M's themselves. And yet ... they looked so pretty (I chose silver, electric green, and light blue) and they made me smile, and I was pretty sure they were going to make all my loved ones smile. So what was I to do? Isn't a little embarrassment worth all that smiling? I thought so.