We knew this day was coming, but who could have known it would come so soon? Our 2.5 year old has her first crush. And ironically…sweetly…it’s with the boy next door.
He’s four years older, and therefore cooler, than all other boys in the entire world. There is a small hole in the fence that separates our homes and he’s found a way to crawl through it and visit our daughter evening after evening. He climbs trees; so she climbs trees. He runs fast; so she runs fast. He throws sticks – and that’s where she draws the line – insisting that they have a tea party instead. She’s shown him her room, bosses him around, and says on a regular basis with the voice of a grown woman, “It’s my turn now J!” And when she says it, it never sounds cross or like a command- it does instead sound like a mother to a child or a wife to a husband and he responds swiftly and kindly. But there is a downside too- the side that when I first saw that dazed and amazed look in her eyes, I knew would come with this uncharted territory. When he has a friends over and can’t play with her, or doesn’t climb through the hole in the fence, she is left heart broken. Because he is older he can come and go as he pleases and that sometimes means that she gets left behind. This weekend she found herself in my lap curled up crying, with a broken heart. Matt said he thought he had at least 10 years before we would have to “deal with this” but this shows you that Matt is, after all, just a man. How could he understand that a woman is woman her whole life. Girls come out of the womb ready to comfort, mother, organize, and boss; girls grow up quicker somehow, and complex feelings can lead to big emotions. She may not be able to verbalize that J is her first crush, but I can see it. I can see it already and I’m taking notes. I could give her my entire dating history and the history of all of her aunties (between all of us she should be able to learn some very important lessons about love and keep her heart intact) but what good would it do? Despite my best efforts, now and later, she will at some point wait for her phone to ring form a guy who doesn’t deserve her attention. She will someday ignore the nice guy for the bad boy, choose the artist over the banker, and have some regrets that will make her shake her head in shame. So here’s the thing (because there is always a thing): try as I might, and oh do I try hard, I can not protect her feelings. There I am in our kitchen starring out of the back door, watching my two year old run in circles to catch the attention of the six year old boy next door and I’m sort of hoping he’ll ask her to play and sort of hoping he’ll never speak to her again. Mostly, I’m hoping she’ll just be happy – now and later. Whatever happens, I know, sure as I can know anything, that someday I’ll be sitting in our kitchen waiting by my phone to ring so I can comfort her, hold her, make it all better. Am I projecting? Sure I am. That’s what having a daughter is all about. This is what I’ve waited for! This is why I HAD to know at 16 weeks that she was a girl! I’m ready. She may not be (not now and maybe not ever), but I am. I’m ready to tell her my stories and rewrite
our her history.