When I signed up to bring M&Ms for my kids’ Valentine’s Day parties at school, I felt like I was taking the easy way out.
Normally, I’m the kind of mom who likes to bake cookies or cupcakes for special occasions, but last week was a stressful one for me, so I looked for an item that was on the sign-up sheets for both Cera and Anthony’s classes and penned in their names. I’d just grab two bags of M&Ms on my weekend grocery trip, and we’d be good to go.
Except that when I went shopping on Saturday, the store was sold out of Milk Chocolate M&Ms. There were several bags of Peanut M&Ms, but I’m always leery of buying those for kids because of allergies, plus they strike me as a choking hazard.
It wasn’t a problem, though. I was sure I’d find some by the time Thursday rolled around.
But by 7 p.m tonight, after hitting two more grocery stores, two drug stores and a discount store, I still hadn’t found a single bag of M&Ms – at least not the right ones. Again, I came across plenty of the peanut variety, along with Dark Chocolate M&Ms (I admit I almost bought a bag of those for myself) and green M&Ms that were labeled “Green – the new color of Valentine’s Day.”
Sorry, I am a holiday purist. Only Cupid’s Mix, with red, pink and white M&Ms, would do for my little Valentines.
I approached store No. 7 – another grocery store – with a new determination. That’s because I knew that my next option was Wal-Mart, and although I have no problem with Wal-Mart on a regular basis, I avoid it like the plague the night before or day of a holiday. So I went in ready to fight for a bag of M&Ms if I had to.
With three shelves of Valentine’s candy before me, I began scanning for that bright red Cupid’s Mix bag.
I didn’t see a single one.
So I started checking all the empty spaces where candy used to be. And there, in the space labeled “Milk Chocolate M&Ms,” was nothing but air.
I started to feel a bit panicked. I really didn’t want to go to Wal-Mart.
OK, I asked myself, what are my other options. Hershey’s Kisses? They’re made of milk chocolate, too. So are miniature Hershey’s bars. Or how about Dove nuggets?
And then, sitting atop the Peanut M&Ms, I saw them. Two – and only two – bags of Cupid’s Mix. I snatched them up like a mad woman and made my way to the checkout line.
I know the teachers at day care wouldn’t have cared if I had shown up tomorrow without M&Ms – and the kids, with everything else there will be to snack on – surely wouldn’t have noticed. But I’m Cera and Anthony’s mom – and I would have known. And it would have made my Valentine’s Day a little less sweet.
One thing I know for sure: Next year, I’m not taking the “easy way out.” Sign me up now for two dozen cupcakes.