It was what you might call an unconventional valentine. Early and unexpected. The best kind.
It didn’t come with doilies, construction paper, glue or conversation hearts.
There were no chocolates or stuffed animals.
It was delivered to me over a table full of Mexican food as we crammed in dinner between parent teacher conferences and basketball practice.
As it often does, our dinner conversation turned sour, and we landed on the subject of halitosis–bad breath.
I’m not sure if it was the garlic or the refried beans that brought the topic to the fore, but in any case, the boys began to discuss the perils and hilarity of bad breath–their own and that of others.
They mocked each other about morning breath and other unpleasantries.
And though I was laughing a little inside, I bemoaned the fact that our conversations rarely cover topics that matter, and so frequently digresses into the realm of gross.
Maybe it’s just boys.
Maybe I haven’t been diligent about redirecting or disciplining this kind of dinner conversation.
In any case, it was the most unlikely time or place to receive a valentine.
But I did.
As the laughter died down about decaying teeth and horrible breath, one of the boys looked at me and said, “Mom, thanks for making us brush our teeth.”
I almost choked on my chips.
I wanted to laugh, cry and shout “Olé!”
And though he would deny it to the death, I’m choosing to believe it was an adolescent-boy’s way to say “I love you.”
And I will take that over chocolates any day.