As I stepped out of the shower this morning, I was greeted by such a sweet and unbearably heartwrenching scene.
There, on the steamy mirror in front of me was the ghostly remnants of my son’s declaration of love for a girl in his class. A sweet girl with brown hair and sparkly green eyes, an infectious giggle and a playful spirit. “I love D. ♥”, it said, complete with a little heart in the message, obviously written in earnest after his shower last night. I laughed when I saw it, wondering if Nick knows after the steam goes away, his message would be available for anyone to see if the mirrors became steamed up again. Then again, he is fairly open with us about his crush and all the girls he thinks are awesome, so perhaps he doesn’t mind too much.
It made me think back of my first crushes. Puppy love. Sometimes unrequited, usually short-lived, innocent and yet so vitally important. I absolutely adored a boy named Brian in grade 3. My mom let me make him a special Valentine cookie for the class party, and oh, how I made sure there were ample sprinkles on it, oodles of pink icing, made by me, for him. In return, he gave a ring. Yes, I got my first bling from a boy when I was 9. Never mind it was copper and turned my finger a gangrenish hue of green. He and I were in love. Now, beyond the cookie and the ring, nothing much happened. We probably played the time honoured game of Boys Chase Girls or, better yet, Girls Chase Boys. Perhaps we might have experimented with a furtive hand-hold in the cloakroom before going home. All I know now is, I deeply cared for that freckle faced boy. His cheeky grin and laugh are still in my heart to this day.
These trysts of the pre-adolescent heart are so vital. In playing with love, children learn how to be a part of a relationship. They play school, they play house, they play doctor (hehehehe), and of course, they play girlfriend/boyfriend.
I know this girl that my son is desperately in love with quite well. His adoration is met with some resentment, however I think she does enjoy his company, so she allows it to a certain extent. It is slightly bittersweet that his affection isn’t returned, but I know all of this is simply part of growing up, and there’s nothing I would do, even if I could, to prevent possible heartache. We all require it in life. We all need to go through the crappy times, only to understand how wonderful the good times are. And as minor as we parents think these love affairs are, our kids are experiencing real feelings, joys and sadness. Yes, they may move on to the next crush or even avoid that scene in favor of sports or friends. Somehow, as these little souls muddle their way through it, we can all just wait and see and hope that it will all turn out okay.
But what a gift. To witness our children growing. Growing in their hearts as well as bodies. Learning to love someone, to give them their own heart. As much as I am not rushing it, I am also not blind to it, and I am deeply honored to witness their blossoming love-life, for lack of a better word. All the bullshit that goes with it (thankfully) is a few years off in the distance. Right now, it is all about the innocence and purity of a child’s love.
Oh, and I still have the ring Brian gave me.