As a kid who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, I don’t remember there being such a fuss over classroom holiday parties, intricate, homemade Valentine’s cards or themed, crafty Valentine boxes.

I never went to a “sweetheart” dance in elementary school, because there was no such thing in my hometown. When it came to Valentine’s cards, there were the cardboard variety, plastered with some cartoon character that you ripped apart on your own, signed and distributed at school.

Sure, my mom may have bought the Valentine’s cards for me at the grocery store, but she would have dropped dead before spending hours gluing construction paper, ribbons or other craft supplies onto a cereal box for her kid’s one-of-a kind Valentine depository box. In no way would she have stayed up all night making chocolate-dipped strawberries or chopped up fruit for a chocolate fountain at her kids’ school Valentine’s Day event. Juice boxes, cheese puffs and Little Debbie cakes ruled the day back in the era before parents really worried about sugar intake or whether something was gluten-free.

But somehow, Valentine’s Day and other party-related events for kids have morphed into something almost unrecognizable for those of us who grew up before the age of social media.

I pondered the thought Feb. 13 as I battled the crowds at three different stores while trying to prep for the next day. After two hours of shopping ... after 55 Valentine’s cards had been signed ... and after the homework was done and the kids were in bed, I was busy ensuring the teacher gifts, cupcakes and kids’ gifts and balloons were ready to go. Four gifts bags and four Valentine’s cards — one for each of my kids and one for my husband — sat ready, waiting on our kitchen counter for Valentine’s morning.

I can honestly say that I’ve always disliked Valentine’s Day.

My husband and I aren’t big gift-givers when it comes to each other. Even at Christmas, we usually go in and buy a joint gift of some bigger item. Last Christmas, we got a couch, the year before, a new TV. When my youngest daughter was born, my “push present” was a new refrigerator. Isn’t that romantic?

But when it comes to flowers and candy, I guess I’d rather get flowers on a random day, or spend a date night out at dinner when there aren’t the crowds. On Valentine’s night, I’m perfectly happy with pizza and TV.

And so, Valentine’s Day was fairly uneventful. The kids got their goodies, my husband and I went out for a casual, quiet lunch. As I picked up the kids after work, I was thinking the day was almost done — until my 7-year-old daughter pulled out a gift bag out of her backpack, scribbled with drawings of the two of us and my name written at the top. Inside were a handful of homemade Valentine’s cards, with proclamations like “Happy Valintins (sic) Mommy, I love you nomader (sic) what.”

My second-grader beamed with pride.

“I noticed there were gifts for us and daddy, but you didn’t have one of your own,” she said. “I wanted to make sure you had a happy Valentine’s Day, too.”

When it comes to how you celebrate Valentine’s, in the end, it doesn’t really matter. But this year, it turned out to be the best Valentine’s Day yet.

— Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News. Reach her at lydia.seabolavant@tuscaloosanews.com.