Yesterday was the last day of school for the older two. I am embarassed to admit that I am one of those parents who lets her nine year old have a cell phone. He’s a latch key kid, walking home from school a mile away and stays home for about a half an hour by himself before I get home (under the secret watchful eye of my next-door neighbors, of course, but he doesn’t know that). Also he can talk and text Daddy, grandparents, and other family members all he wants on the weekends.
My son told me he got a lot of phone numbers so he can meet his friends at the park. I refrain from raising a single eyebrow in anticipation of a love interest.
“My friend P has a secret crush on someone in the class,” he said. “He gave his phone number to everyone so it doesn’t look too suspicious.”
“Oh,” I said. “Do you… [TRYING TO ACT CASUAL] have a crush on anyone?”
He gave me a Look. “Even if I did, I would still say ‘NO’.”
I said, “So you do.”
“So you don’t.”
“No. Even if I did, I would still say ‘NO’,” he repeated.
I am nosy, I know. But I wanted to know. I wondered how different this conversation would be if my husband were around to take over or bring it up casually on the way to the grocery store.
A conversation between mother and son about first crushes seems wrong to me. I know it’s been done, having heard snippets from friends here and there. I can’t believe this is the same little boy who I dressed in cute frog and duck outfits with matching hats, who cooed in church every Sunday at the chapel on base when Daddy was away on his deployments, and who loved Thomas the Tank Engine more than anything in the world. Like my daughter A who graduated from kindergarten the other day, he is growing up too fast.
I thought girls still had cooties. The idea of talking to girls was disgusting. I thought this didn’t start until… at least the age of thirty.
Wishful thinking, I know.
I should have seen it coming though. Last year he was so happy to see me around school, helping out in class or in the office. But this year? This year he stopped acknowledging me, even when I was NOT dressed for the gym AND wearing a full face of make-up. Not even a wave. Not even a cool nod. I am the third vice president of the PTA, for goodness sakes! Do you even know who I am?
Whoa, flashback to my single days of going-to-clubs-and-bars. Sorry about that.
I observed the Mom Code and let P’s mom know of our conversation. I even asked M who his friend’s crush was. (Sneaky, I know.)
“I can’t tell you that,” M said. “My friend P said that I am the only who he trusts with that secret and I want to keep his trust.” He said that with such conviction and loyalty that I couldn’t help but be proud.
I told him, “Good for you, son.” I really did. “Now secrets like crushes you can keep but things that might hurt someone or doing stuff that isn’t right, ya gotta tell me, alright?”
He smiled. “Okay, Mommy.”
“So, who do you have a crush on?” I asked again.
He sighed and walked away. I saw a smirk on his face as he did.
That kid’s gonna be okay.