The story of the day is about a boy who likes a girl who likes him back. It is a story as old as time but is brand new again in my boy.
He asked her to the movies and she said happily accepted. "We are going in a big group of our friends. But I'm gonna pay for her. I have to save up my allowance so we can go. I'm gonna pay for her and me. I was thinking maybe we could see Maleficent when it comes out. Or maybe Rio 2 or Heaven is For Real. I'll see what she wants to see. Can you call her mom and ask if that is okay? Can you call her right now? Or maybe you could email her? Can we go tomorrow? Or, wait, I still have to save up. Could I get my allowance early? I have $9.00 in my wallet but I need more. How much does it cost to get in to the movies?" he spews at me without giving me a chance to answer.
The younger brothers watch closely. They are learning from his experience without even knowing it. They are all watching my reactions and I feel myself panic on the inside. Which is the best way to go? I want to be excited and supportive so he knows he can always come to me and I will share his enthusiasm. At the same time I don't want to encourage this whole "dating" business just yet. I want to tease and have fun with my boy, as I can see that is the mood he is in, but I definitely don't want to turn it into a joke. I know this is serious to my first timer and I want to behave just as he wants me to.
This is all so new. To him and to me. I'm not sure which way to go.
I try to match his enthusiasm. I don't want to be anything less than supportive in this moment.
I try to put myself in his shoes and think back to grade school. As a skinny, awkward, goofy tomboy I really have nothing to compare it to. Boys were never interested in me until I was a junior in high school. I used to loathe being a late bloomer but now I can see it for the blessing it was. There was a freedom in it.
I want my kids to be late bloomers too. Alas, it doesn't seem to be going that way.
Instead of playing outside Joey sits down to write his crush a letter. He uses his neatest handwriting and thinks carefully and thoughtfully. He shows me the letter when he is done. I am honored to be included inside his world once again and I lift a silent prayer that he will always want to share his heart with me. I smile and compliment his letter and he floats out the door to join his brothers outside, relieved to have finally gotten his letter just right.
Each time he comes back in the house he is bursting to tell me something else about the movies or his crush. He tells me how he wrote her a letter a couple of weeks ago and attached Hershey's chocolate to it. Another letter followed a few days later in which he told her that he liked her and that she was really good at staring contests. The boy is good if I do admit so myself. Chocolates, declarations, and compliments. How could a girl refuse?
I listen carefully to his stories and ask all the right questions. He knows I'm interested and gives me all the info I want. I tell him I admire his bravery. He shrugs it off. The kid has confidence in abundance.
In between my support I sprinkle in a bit of seriousness. A bit of lecture here, a bit of warning there.
"Only in groups"
"No dating until high school"
He rolls his eyes at me.
"Mom don't I even get what dating is. It doesn't even make sense." Joey announces.
I explain that dating is two people getting to know each other. It involves going on dates (like to the movies) with just each other. Sometimes the two people might even kiss.
"MOM! What makes you think I would even WANT to do that? That's just crazy!" Joey assures me. "I just like her and she likes me and that's it."
Simplicity, mom. Remember that. I must trust in his pure heart.
Before I can even start to worry that my boy is growing up too quickly he is back outside playing in the woods, building forts, and riding bikes with his brothers. Once again reminding me that he is still just a boy. Still cloaked in innocence and childhood.
But it is a moment.
A first crush.