On Monday my son checked the front door two, if not three, times before going to school. He never normally looks in the porch in the morning. The post always arrives after he goes to school. I am the one who ventures outside for the milk. There is no reason to look. Unless...
... unless you are expecting something.
But, of course, he is a boy. A 10-year-old boy. They are not interested in girls and love and stuff. Oh no! Girls are the enemy, the slime on the earth, people to be avoided at all times.
So, of course, there is no reason to be checking the porch for a card, is there? None whatsoever.
When I stopped laughing at this (quietly, behind his back, in a loving mother fashion) I had a mild concern as I knew there was a card and present coming from a girl in his class, because her mum had told me so!
Nevertheless he had a full day at school and when he got home I asked, "Did you get any Valentine's cards then?" (I'd abandoned subtlety at this point.)
"No!" he said emphatically. But his eyes were gleaming and he was smiling from ear to ear.
"No. Nothing," and slunk off up to his bedroom.
So then I was baffled. I knew he was due to get one; he's claiming not to have one. Did she bottle out? Was our front door too difficult to approach, given the dug-up driveway? Is his funny grin a sign that he really did, or that his embarrassing Mother is being laughed at for asking?
A nosey mother only has one more route to go: talk to the girl's mother. Bluffing my way through the conversation I learnt that she did (via a friend - how else?!) give him a card and a little present, as expected.
Armed with this ammunition I ask my son last night one last time: "Are you sure you got nothing for Valentine's Day?"
Time had weakened his resolve (or I had battered it down relentlessly), for immediately he said yes, and took me up to his bedroom to show me. He was given a beautiful little bear, and a handmade card.
"But look, mum, I couldn't tell you," he says. "She wrote inside 'Don't tell anybody about this.'"
I have learnt my lesson. Not telling anybody includes - logically - his mum. He honoured the girl's wish. What more could a mother ask of a son?