My boy came home the other day declaring that his frenemy couldn't be trusted with a secret. After my first thought of "Duh." I gulped and prepared for the onslaught of hurt and disbelief that my boy usually expresses in these situations, but right away noticed he had a rather chipper demeanor.
I waited and he gleefully declared that he had "good news and bad news". The bad news being that he told his friend a secret that he didn't keep. I put on my sad mom face and asked about the secret, all the while genuinely perplexed as to why he wasn't crushed as usual (but also really thrilled that he wasn't).
"Mom, when Frenemy* was mean to me Sarah** made me feel better. She is the nicest girl in the class."
At this point I am starting to figure out what might be going on here, but I won't lie. I'm dense. I still ask, "Oh, yeah? Who is Sarah and what was the secret?"
Big sigh, "Well. The secret it that I like Sarah." He pauses for effect, and says, "Mom, LIKE like. And Frenemy told people! I just can't trust him anymore."
At this point I am kind of wondering why he isn't a humiliated puddle, as I would have been in the same situation. So I tell him he seems pretty happy even though such a bad thing happened. He goes on to tell me that it was ok because he knows Sarah likes him, too. He said it with such confidence and swagger that I am still amazed at my ability to keep it together.
I felt like I was going to explode in hysterics between the adorableness of his cool confidence and the relief that he wasn't broken-hearted over the loss of trust with his friend. I asked how he knew this girl liked him. Apparently it seems that she looks at him during class all the time and smiles at him.
So I asked him how he knew he liked her. "My tummy feels weird when I am around her, Mom. And I can't concentrate during class."
And so it starts.
Do you remember your first crush? I do. It was in first grade, also. We had just moved to Honolulu, Hawaii from St. Louis, Missouri. I don't remember his name, but it was a traditional Hawaiian one. He had curly brown hair with gold highlights and deep brown skin. He was the first person to be nice to me, an obvious outsider at this particular school with my blonde hair and blue eyes.
For a few days we played together and I was in heaven. But soon the other kids found out this weird blonde girl liked him and the secret was out and we were made fun of. Like any self respecting seven year old boy, he didn't want to play any more and my little mid-western heart was broken. Luckily we moved to our new house on another part of the island and I went to another school, never to think of this kid until 2012.
I don't remember telling my mom about it, but I do remember telling her about a later crushes and her thinking it was cute and funny, but not taking it seriously. I remember times where the person in question didn't "like" me back and feeling hurt but not understanding why or having anyone to help me feel better about myself or the situation or why I felt like that at all. I remember having boys like me and I didn't reciprocate, but my heart breaking for them anyway because I knew what their hurt feelings felt like.
I know. It's amazing I survived life with all these feelings. My poor parents had no idea what to do with me. I had no idea what to do with me.
So here I am, listening to my son telling me about his first crush, and a lifetime of romantic entanglements comes back to haunt me. I worry that he will feel unsure about himself and that his little first grade heart will be broken and I won't take him seriously and he'll feel bad and he'll wonder what is wrong with him and why nobody likes him.
Then I tell myself YOU MUST CHILL.*** It's first grade and I am not my mother and he is not me (thank GOD).
Besides. She likes him back.
*Again, my kid never actually uses this expression, nor do I use it in his presence. But it makes for good blog fodder.
**Sarah is not her real name
***What movie has the great "You MUST CHILL!" line? Anyone?