My 10-year-old has been fawning all over a girl in his class for the last month or so, and last week he told me he was going to ask her to be his valentine, which - ohmygod - could that be any cuter?
He’s very different than my older son, who never shared this kind of stuff with me, and even to this very day he only hits me with the very vaguest of information, making me wonder if one day I’ll be sporting an “I ♥ My Grandcat” bumper sticker, which you might think I just made up, but I saw one on a car last week and couldn’t grab my phone fast enough to snap a picture to prove it to you.
My youngest asks me relationship advice all the time, because I guess he thinks I’m qualified to give counsel to fourth graders seeking matchmaking tips.
Here’s the conversation about asking this girl to be his valentine:
10: I have two ideas on how to ask her: one is to ask her if she’ll be my valentine, and then run away really fast.
Me: **laughing** Okaayyy, let me hear that second idea.
10: I can write a note on a heart shape and sneak it into her cubby. **then sort-of to himself:** But if somebody sees it, they might get suspicious....
Me: Well then, I like the first idea, but without the running away afterwards part.
10: Yah, maybe.
The reason I feel solid on this advice is because I tried a similar tactic when I was in fourth grade, and the results were devastating.
There was a boy who I had a crush on and maybe he had a crush on me, too, because he gave me a candy heart with a sweet sentiment imprinted on it.
Well, he gave it to a friend to give to me, because: fourth grade.
What happened next makes me realize that my 10-year-old’s over-the-top conservative moral code must have come from me, because when I looked down at my open palm and saw the words “Kiss me” imprinted into that tiny yellow piece of candy, I was horrified.
What kind of girl did he think I was?
I looked over at where he stood - over by the monkey bars - and we caught each other’s eye.
That’s when I turned and ran to the other side of the playground as fast as I could.
When I got all the way to the chain link fence that outlined the school playground, I turned around and leaned my back against it, huffing and puffing from my sprint, and I saw that those handfuls of kids who had been nearby when his friend gave me the candy, were now just standing there looking out at me with, “wait, what?” looks on their faces.
Fast forward to the ninth-grade me, when I came face to face with the most adorable Italian-looking boy that I’d had a crush on for a few months.
We were at a football game, each of us walking around with our respective clumps of friends, and - bear with me here, because I don’t remember all the specifics leading up to the moment where my group of friends passed his group of friends and suddenly we were face to face and he bent down and gave me the sweetest little kiss on the lips, those soft baby mustache hairs like velvet against my upper lip, just for the tiniest moment.
At least this time I didn’t run away like a damn fool.
He had sort-of softly taken my hands into his when he placed that peck onto my lips, and as soon as he pulled his face away from mine, I turned around and fast-walked the other direction.
When I say “fast-walked,” I want you to picture it the way it really happened: I had my head down, my arms to my sides, and I leaned forward a little bit as I quick-footedly shuffled away.
The running away thing - I don’t know. It’s just a response my body has sometimes.
And apparently it’s genetic.
Neither of those boys ever became my boyfriend, mainly because they were both left confused by my bizarre behavior, so the fact that my child is asking my advice is not only ironic, but will one of these days - if/when my son reads these words - leave him shaking his head in disbelief that, not only did he ask relationship advice of me, but he’ll also surely marvel at the fact that I ever married and had children to whom I could impart advice.