Tonight was my daughter's parent teacher night at her elementary school. I have come to enjoy this opportunity to have a little one on one time with the teacher and to hear their perceptions of my kids. Now that my son is in Junior High School, the whole process has depersonalized and I've all but lost that connection with his teachers.
This evening's meeting was lovely as it always is when meeting with my daughter's teachers. She's doing well and involved in lots of extra projects and blah, blah, blah. The only thing that she mentioned to me that had me a little concerned was that she is already starting to see crushes develop and love notes being passed in the classroom. She clarified that my daughter wasn't part of the love note passing, but aren't 10 and 11 year olds a little too young for this, I wondered? Then I remembered my first crush.
When I was in kindergarten, I had a friend named Bobby Nicholls. One day when he and I were playing house, I kissed him on the mouth and immediately declared to my mother that Bobby and I were going to get married. Later, as we grew a little, we continued to pal around but there was no further discussion of marriage.
One day in the spring of 5th grade, Bobby showed up at my front door and asked me to come out on the porch. He told me that he had some presents for me. He began by pulling a small bottle of liquid out of his pocket. "This is the world's most expensive perfume." he said, handing it to me. I held the bottle up to the light and watched the amber liquid swish between the curved hips of the crown shaped bottle. Then he pulled a big gold brooch out of his pocket. It had ornate, antique looking scrolling circling an oval, quarter sized pearl in the center. This pin, he explained had a core of diamond dust sitting beneath the giant pearl. I gasped as I ran my finger over the pearl, trying to see if I could detect the diamonds within. Then he proclaimed me his girlfriend and he ran off before I could offer my agreement.
I went into the house and took my treasures to my room, not sure what I should do with such valuable goods. The most obvious choice was my jewelery box as it held my other worldly possessions - my gold bangle bracelet, my gold "S" chain necklace, an assortment of Wacky Pack cards, 2 packs of Topps Baseball cards (minus the gum) and a custom printed cocktail napkin from my cousin's wedding. I tucked my gifts into the box, afraid to use the expensive perfume or wear such a valuable piece of jewelery. I would visit them now and again, smelling the unusual floral notes of the perfume, but never daring to wear it.
About two weeks later Bobby's mom showed up at our door. The sound of her somewhat hushed conversation with my mother drew me down the stairs for a little eavesdropping. Turns out that Bobby had stolen her Windsong perfume and his grandmother's costume jewelery brooch and he cracked under a little light interrogation and told her where he fenced the goods. Mrs. Nicholls was very cool about the whole thing and told my mom that I could return her things in my own time. I was crushed, of course, but I returned he things the next day.
This was my first lesson in two important truths in life:
1) Men are liars
2) Windsong smells like shit
And in retrospect, it is a reminder that love can bloom early and sting hard. So I am donning my armor and readying the fort for the first time I find a little football folded love note in my daughter's backpack. And I will try to be sensitive and handle the situation with grace and understanding, like Mrs. Nicholls and my mom did. However, if I should run across any sexting on any one's phone in this house, I am buying a stun gun and I will not think twice about using it.