A different kind of Valentine’s day

I don’t celebrate Valentine’s day; we don’t even bother saying “Happy Valentine’s Day” to each other. But I do sometimes make restaurant booking around the time of Valentine and make plans to go out and have dinner with my hubby. Why not? Another excuse to have a good meal and time of no-kids conversation.

My two sons are too young to have crushes on girls. I tried teasing Big D this year by asking if he liked any girl in church or if he has ever caught any girl looking away quickly if he happened to glance at them. Nope. Not yet.

But they did melt some ladies’ hearts recently.

One early morning, Little D took two mandarin oranges as he stepped out of the door with T to go to school. T told me that when they reached the ground floor, Little D refused to go straight to the car but instead spent a long time looking for somebody. He finally found her—the cleaning lady who is usually sweeping the bottom of the flat each morning around the time when Little D leaves for school. He went up to her and presented her with the two oranges. T told me that the cleaning lady was very smitten by the gesture. That night, I sceptically asked Little D whether his form teacher had suggested to the class to think of such gestures as it was the CNY season. He replied that he had come up with the idea all by himself. He just “wanted to do it.” Shame on me for not having given him the benefit of doubt.

The same week, as I was chit chatting with Big D over a meal, I happened to glance at two messages that had just popped up on his mobile phone. The first message said, “Thank you so much D!” And then seconds later, “You don’t know how much this means to me!” Apparently, his school Sports House Teacher had been desperately seeking for students to participate in the upcoming school swimming meet, and no one in his House had bothered to sign up. Big D felt pity for her after her repeated call-outs for participation and finally replied to say that he would take part in two events. I was rather apprehensive. Did he realise that he hadn’t swum for almost six months? Did he realise that the water polo team and the swim team in the school were very strong and that he would look ridiculous tailing behind by a large margin? No worries, he assured me, he was taking part just to make his teacher happy, no other reason.

The swim meet was held on Valentine’s day afternoon itself. How did his team do? Not so bad, he replied, they came in seventh. That’s great! I commented. How much faster were they as compared to the eighth team? Oh, he said, team eight was disqualified because they didn’t turn up. What a sweet team of four pathetic swimmers who responded to the cry of their teacher!