“OH MY GOSH!” Ashleigh exclaimed as she lifted herself up into the backseat. She leaned towards the front seat and gave me a quick smile and half-hug and then scooted into the back seat with her sister.
“Hi Da-” Taralynn starts in, but is quickly interrupted by Ashleigh.
“Dad, I had a horrible day! I am sooooo mad at one of my best, well, she was one of my best friends!”
“Hi Taralynn,” I calmly reply. “Ash, what’s the matter?”
“Oh, only that Tyler knows I have a crush on him now!!!” She then made what can only be described as a growl (I’m assuming it was directed toward said “former” best friend), as she buried her face in her hands.
I glance back in the rearview mirror, see my daughter (in obvious distress), and matter-of-factly say to her “Uhhh, you’re actually not allowed to have a crush yet.” I smile to myself as I see her hands drop, her face rise, and her mouth fall open.
“What? Since when can I not have a crush? Mom said I can have a…”
“Uhhh, I’m not your mom last time I checked. No way.”
“Well, whatever. It doesn’t even matter anyways, because now Megan is his girlfriend!”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume Megan is the former friend she was referring to earlier in our conversation. It was my first conversation with them in a couple of days and this is what I was greeted with as I picked them up from school on Tuesday afternoon.
I continue, “Wait a minute! Since when do fourth-graders have boyfriends and girlfriends? Are you sure they’re not just dating? Or are they going together? You know, like going steady?”
“You’re weird, dad. They’re boyfriend and girlfriend.”
“Oh,” I reply. “How do you know that for sure?”
Smiling now, because she realizes I’m just messing with her, she answers back “Well, genius. When a boy likes a girl he asks her to be his girlfriend. Tyler asked Megan today right after she told him that I had a crush on him! Now do you get it? How do you think that makes me feel?”
“Ashleigh, you can’t date until you’ve graduated!” I yell back to her and turn up “Like a G6” to a decibel usually only made by a jet engine. As usual, when that particular song comes on, we all get quiet and fist pump through the whole thing. As our song winds down, I glance back in the rearview mirror to see her staring quietly out the window. She looked so pretty and I couldn’t help but smile as I turned over my shoulder and reminded her I was just messing with her.
“Do you want to know about my first crush?” I ask.
“YEAH,” Taralynn hollered. Surprisingly, she had been pretty quiet during the first part of the drive home. I wonder if she was contemplating whether or not she should tell a boy in her class if she had a crush on him.
I turn the volume to the radio all the way down and say “Melanie Sims.” She was the tallest girl in my grade and I was one of the shortest guys in it. I liked her so much I puked on her in first grade.”
The girls started giggling as I continued. “I didn’t have my first real girlfriend until fifth grade. Her name was Gina Moore. You know why she became my girlfriend?”
In unison, “Why?”
“Because every guy I knew practically begged her to be my girlfriend for me. I was way too shy to ask her myself. And you know what? During the time we were “girlfriend and boyfriend” I’m not sure we even held hands one time. I know for a fact we never kissed. I do know we talked on the phone once. I’m sure my part of the conversation was fairly unintelligible, and we never talked on the phone again. In fact, the next day while walking through the hallways another girl asked me if I still had my girlfriend. When I made what I assumed was the correct response, she informed me otherwise (that I, in fact, did not have a girlfriend anymore).”
“Awwwww, Daddy!!!” one of them said.
We all started laughing as I reminisced with my children about the very thing one of them is going through this week in school. I’m trying to keep in touch with my inner youth as I raise my children to know the right answers to give them. One way I do that is by remembering small events I went through as a child. My girlfriend experience in the fifth grade and lack of one in the other elementary grades, kind of helps my thought process in dealing with my daughter(s) having a crush.
Crushes are fairly harmless, aren’t they? Most of the time, nothing too serious comes of them. At the same time, a crush can also boost one’s confidence. I hope Tyler’s emotions are flying pretty high right now to know that my little girl thinks he’s not only funny, but cute too.
“Maybe you can be his girlfriend next week Ashleigh…”
“Da-ad…” she said, as she smiled at me in the mirror…