I know it’s way past my bedtime, but I’m just poking my head in for a quick status update on my forty-seven valentines. No pressure, but if I don’t get to participate in this pageant of favoritism and begrudging inclusion, the consequences will be unprecedented.

Okay, they’ll actually be very precedented. I will simply lose my shit.

I’m so excited that my class decided to do valentines after announcing, at the beginning of the year, that there would be no valentines. I’m also excited that my teacher backtracked on this agreement in a note she sent home two weeks ago.

I safely stowed the note under a half-eaten Sunbutter sandwich in the depths of my backpack, so I don’t know how you missed it until I asked, at 9:15 p.m., what my valentines looked like.

Oooh, is that glitter? I didn’t know we bought glitter valentines. When we raced into Target right before they locked the doors, didn’t you say NO GLITTER VALENTINES?

I’m pretty sure you did, but there were only two boxes left—the ones you’re assembling now, and the terrifying circus-themed ones that said “Stop Clowning Around and BE MINE” and made me cry. So I’m glad you bought these ones!

But you’re doing it wrong. The crazy straw is supposed to make a loop-de-loop through those four flimsy holes. You can’t just roll the valentine around it!

Also, each card is supposed to be folded into an origami box. And each box is shaped like one of seven different barnyard animals.

Plus, they all have knock-knock jokes! And right this second, since you’re not busy, I need you to explain every single one to me. “Knock knock—who’s there” pulls me in, but “Bea—Bea who? Bea my Valentine” loses me.

Oh, it’s short for Beatrice? Who’s Beatrice? Have you made her a valentine? Let me check.

Yes, I did just unfold the seven valentines you’ve made so far. I don’t see Beatrice, but more concerningly, I also don’t see Parker. Parker is my second-best friend and has been since yesterday, and if you screw this up—by giving her the blue origami chicken with the pink crazy straw, for example—you’ll ruin my life forever.

Why haven’t you made Parker’s valentine yet? How is there already an origami cow for McLaughlin—I don’t even like McLaughlin! He shouldn’t get a crazy straw! Where’s the valentine for Kenley? Or Persimmon? Or my third-favorite resource teacher, Mrs. Harperson-Gomez?

I’m beginning to think you aren’t taking this seriously.

Look, delivering these valentines will be the Single Most Important Moment of My Young Life. (At least, until the next Single Most Important Moment of My Young Life, currently scheduled for Crazy Hair Day. I’ve penciled that discussion in for the Monday night of Spirit Week, when I come home crying because you didn’t know it was Spirit Week.)

I’ve already decorated the paper bag that will sit on my desk, ready to receive the offerings of other students. Students whose parents are currently screaming at novelty pencils, Disney Princess tattoos, and other non-food items adhered to decorative scraps of paper.

The bag is in my backpack. Let me retrieve it, so you can properly admire it and take notes. Note the craftsmanship. Note the individuality. Note that it isn’t big enough to hold a crazy straw, and I want one too. So I need to get the craft supplies out and make a new bag.

Not want, need. Like you need forty-seven valentines and just now realized you only have forty.

Are you crying?

It’s okay. Sometimes we have big feelings. Cheer up. I wasn’t going to give you this until tomorrow, but here’s a valentine I made you from construction paper, a rubber band, and three rolls of scotch tape.

Go ahead and take a crazy straw too—you can have McLaughlin’s. You’ve earned it. Or you will, after you assemble the rest of my forty-seven valentines for school tomorrow.

Wow, is it midnight already? I guess I mean today!