It was February of 1980-something. The braces had finally come off. I’d become well versed in the application of copious amounts of Aquanet and was fairly certain that I’d never leave George Michael, “hanging on like a solo”. What I was far from certain of though, was whether Michael Murphy even knew I existed.
Sure we’d grown up just blocks away from each other since grade school. In fact, he had even given me my first kiss. I was ten, he was eleven, it was an epic reenactment of the passionate lip-lock Mr. and Mrs. Brady had shared just last week on re-runs of The Brady Bunch. (My arch nemesis, his sister Debbie, always got to play Marcia and I simply refused to be labeled a Jan.) It was a moment I’d never forget. So how had he managed to walk past me like a shrub for the next four years? I just didn’t get it, until I did.
My epiphany came when I opened my Pee Chee folder to find a note telling me I was “Totally Bitchin” and asking if I’d go to the Valentine’s Day dance with… wait for it… Michael Murphy! I was swept off my jelly-shoed feet by the romance of the gesture. He did know I existed! Oh the giddy, gleeful, adrenaline that coursed through my hormone riddled brain. Micheal Murphy thought I was “Totally Bitchin” and wanted to be MY Valentine!
Four kids -and far more years than I care to count- later, I can still remember the rush of that first crush, my first real Valentine. I felt that nostalgic pull when my oldest son fell in his first puppy love. That time is fast approaching for my oldest daughter (though don’t mention that to her dad, he is enjoying being the mayor of Denial).
These sweet, and often bitter-sweet, milestones in life are part of the joy and wisdom we pass on to our kids. Yet there are literally millions of parents out there that won’t get to usher their children through this right of passage, because they will have lost their child to a vaccine-preventable illness. And it’s not just something that is happening “over there”. In 2000, the United States achieved measles elimination. However, importations of measles into the United States continue to occur, posing risks for measles outbreaks and sustained measles transmission. During 2011, a total of 222 measles cases were reported to CDC, compared with a median of 60 cases reported from 2001-2010.
Our children, the children of parents everywhere, deserve to be someone’s Valentine. They should all get a shot at feeling that rush of Cupid’s arrow. Unite with me, parents everywhere, and the United Nation’s Foundation as we strive to give every child a shot at reaching this milestone through the Shot@Life program.
To the boy that will become my oldest daughter’s first real Valentine, don’t worry her dad hasn’t really installed a spy-cam in her dress. I don’t think.
I am proud to say that this post is part of the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life Summer Blog Carnival. I was given the writing prompt “Be Someone’s Valentine,” as well as immunization information, statistics and the adorable image in the post to inspire my post. The goal, to get us all thinking about milestones we all children deserve to experience, and how something as simple as a vaccine can help make that happen. Bloggers from the web are sharing their milestone moments and having them featured at Shotatlife.org/blog this week to help champion every child’s Shot At Life!