One evening right after Valentine's Day we were getting the kids ready for bed when S sighed a big six-year-old boy sigh and said, "I just can't stop thinking about her." Brett and I both started in asking who he was talking about and he mentioned his sweetheart from school for the first time this year. He'd had a crush on a sweet little girl with 'yellow hair' named Emma in Springfield but hadn't had another girl steal his heart in the same way until now.
"I'm in love with her," he said dramatically as I tucked him in to bed. We proceeded to have the longest conversation of his life about how she smiled at him in gym class but didn't talk to him because she's shy and that his friends that know he likes her make fun of him. He asked me how she would know if he liked her and how he would know if she liked him back and I offered up my nuggets of how to treat girls you like. You know, don't hit them, push them, tease them, or ignore them and to say nice things to her like how pretty he thought she was, etc.
I sat there informing him that it wasn't okay to kiss any girls at school no matter how much he liked them unless he asked their permission. And then only on the cheek. Flu season, duh! Then I remembered getting my very first kiss from our neighbor friend, Robert, behind the couch at my house while my mom was in the kitchen cooking dinner. I think he had a runny nose, too. Gross.
I couldn't believe we were already having this conversation and my heart both ached for the passing of time and exploded for this new territory that allowed my son and I to talk so openly about something so innocent and sweet.
I felt ever so keenly how important my job is as his mother to teach him how to grow into the kind of man that respects and appreciates women-one that can be both strong and gentle, kind, honest, thoughtful, playful, brave, and steady. I know a time will come when he won't be so eager to tell me that he's smitten with another 'yellow-haired' girl or ask me if he should have one of his friends tell her he likes her. I'm going to enjoy this rare opportunity with a captive audience and do my best to help him maneuver through the treacherous waters of young love.
I picked him up after school today and the first thing out of his mouth was, " I gave her some lipstick I found."
"I'm sorry, what?"
"I gave R some lipstick."
"What lipstick? Do you mean chapstick? From home? You shouldn't share chapstick. GERMS."
"No, I found it on the floor. It was watermelon."
He's getting there.