As casually as possible—so as not to disturb any emotional freight—I asked the 11-year-old if he wanted to pick up some Valentine’s Day cards when we were at the pharmacy. I might as well have asked if he would like a new pacifier. My years of parent-driven card-giving, far from instilling in the boy a Valentine’s Day tradition, had instead fixed in his mind that the whole thing was hopelessly childish. I was lucky to get off with no more than a “Really, mom?” look.When I was a little girl, I loved sending store-bought valentines, even though my mother assured me that the “real fun” was making your own out of white paper doilies and red construction paper. With boys, who thought the whole idea was stupid, the store-bought cards were probably the only way theirs would ever get sent. The girls, who thought it unbearably romantic, would spend silly amounts of time poring over the cards for hidden messages. Everyone was supposed to get a card and, in those days before recycling, whole forests must have been felled so that no one would feel left out.
By middle school, the exaggerated romantic sentiments of cards had been replaced by candy, though the actual sentiments intended were as unclear as they were before, and what was mistaken for true love might have only been a love for chocolate (which I suppose is a life lesson one needs to eventually learn.)
In high school nowadays, Valentine’s Day has become a fundraiser. The Westhampton Beach Interact Club raises money by selling “Candygrams” to be delivered to students during homeroom. Since the sender can sign any name to the gift they want, some children—mostly boys, I suspect—think this is a hilarious opportunity to send bogus cards to younger sisters or anyone else whose mind they want to mess with. This is hardly in the true spirit of Valentine’s Day.
Enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day Full Moon Night Hike at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge on Friday, February 14, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The walk will last about 90 minutes, and is free for refuge members and $5 for all others. Please call (631) 653-4771 for reservations.
Winter Wildlife Camp at Quogue Wildlife Refuge will run from Tuesday, February 18, through Friday, February 21, from 9 a.m. to noon daily. Campers will enjoy a craft and a hike each day. The cost is $30 per day or $100 for all four. The camp is open to children between the ages of five and 11, and preregistration is required. Call (631) 653-4771 to book your spot.
For a stay-cation adventure, Flip Flop Gymnastics in Westhampton is offering a February Break Camp. Camp will be held on Tuesday, February 18, Wednesday, February 19, and Friday, February 21, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, with activities for children age 3 through their teens. The cost is $45 a day and organizers request that campers pack a lunch, a healthy snack and water. This is a peanut-free facility. For more information, please call (631) 288-2845.
Future Stars in Southampton is holding a multi-sport mini camp the week of February 17-21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. The camp is open to kids age 6 to 13. The cost is $250 for the week or $60 per day. For more information, call (631) 287-6707.
For kids getting ready for spring baseball, All Pro Sports in Bellport is offering a baseball camp from 10 a.m. to noon each day the week of February 17-21. The cost is $145 per student. Kids will work on the fundamentals of hitting, pitching and fielding. Call (631) 286-5144 to register or obtain more information.
The annual Westhampton Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on Saturday, March 15, and kicks off at noon from the Westhampton Beach Middle School on Mill Road. The theme is “Dream Green.” Save the date.