"Mom, I want to get married with you when I grow up."
"Well, I'm afraid that isn't possible. I'm already married to Dad, remember?"
"Well, then I'll get married with Baby."
"Unfortunately, that won't work, either. You can't marry someone who is already in your family. When you get much older, you'll meet a girl who is not in our family, but you'll want her to be. Then, after you know each other very well and love each other, you can get married."
eyes a'twinkle, smile spreading across his face
"I'm gonna get married with Allison*."
|My future daughter-in-law might be the 2nd from the left in the front row.|
"Oh? She's a pretty nice friend, huh?"
"Yeah. She's my BFF."
"It would be nice to have her as a good friend for a long time, wouldn't it? If you two are still friends when you're all done with high school, then maybe you will get married. For now, though, it's better to just concern yourself with being a kind friend and not finding someone to marry."
"Can I have a snack?"
One day, a few weeks ago...
"Mom, you remember how I told you Frank's* big sister Delia* was asking us each questions when we were playing at his house the other day?"
"Well, one of the questions was 'Who is your girlfriend?'
"Oh? And what did you say? Kindergartners don't have girlfriends, right?"
"No, we do. Frank said Anne*, and you can guess who I said."
"Yup. We're going to get married."
"What do you think it means to have her as your girlfriend?"
"I don't know. What does it mean?"
"You should probably just say she's your friend from now on. Everyone in your class should be friends with each other, and you don't want to make anyone feel sad or left out, right?"
"Right. But Allison is my BFF."
"Okay, but so is Frank, right? And Jason*?"
"Yeah. Can I have a snack?"
One day, last week...
"Missed me, missed me, now you gotta kiss me!"
"Well, come here! Any chance I have to kiss my little boy, I'm going to take!"
"Where did you hear that, anyway? Do people say that at school?"
"But then, there's no actual kissing, right? It's just something you guys say 'cause it rhymes?"
"No, we kiss."
|My thoughts, exactly.|
"Who kisses? Where? When? How often?"
"I kiss Allison and Rachel* on the carpet when we're watching a movie sometimes."
"Son, that is not okay. You kiss your family members. You do not need to kiss your friends, especially not at school. Got it?"
"Uh huh. Why?"
"Because school is for learning and doing school work. Not kissing."
"Is it time for dinner?"
One day, this week, that was not today...
"Mom, I've got to write Allison a letter as soon as we get home. I'm going to write her a letter and she's going to write me a letter. And remember those three pictures I drew yesterday? I'm going to give her the best one. The one with all the details. Remember? Indigo and violet in the rainbow? Can I play on the Kindle?"
"Yes." Please! Anything to distract you from writing a love letter!
a little while later...
"Okay. I've got to write a letter to Allison. What paper should I use? Here's the picture I'm going to give her, because it has so much detail. Oh, I think I'll draw another rantom butterfly. See? I used even more colors. Do you think she'll like it?" Flips the picture over and writes, 'I will get'
"Mom, how do you spell 'married'?"
"Sound it out." Maybe if I don't tell him, he won't write it!
writes 'mared!' Folds the picture into a blank piece of paper, and draws hearts all over the front and back.
"Why are you drawing so many hearts?" Is it the only shape you remember how to draw?
"Because I love her! I'm going to give it to her tomorrow and she's going to put it in her backpack."
"Son, I don't think you should give that letter to Allison."
"What? Why? I told her I would write her a letter! And I love her!"
"Well, it's just not so nice to write a letter to only one person in your class. You should be friends with everyone. Don't you think it might make your other friends feel sad to not get a letter from you?"
"I am friends with everyone. Allison is just in my heart, like you and Dad and Baby and Ms. Carter*. Please, Mom! I really want her to have that picture and I already drew all those hearts and I told her I would write her a letter!"
"We'll see. I'll talk to Dad about it. I just don't know that it's appropriate."
"I'm really going to get married with her. I really am. What are you making for dinner?"
Here's the thing: Er--wait. There are several things.
- I think boyfriend/girlfriend relationships are inappropriate, at best, destructive, at worst, until at least high-school age.
- I had my first kiss in kindergarten, and my second first kiss when I was 17. (Shut up.)
- I also planned to marry that boy from kindergarten. (I didn't.)
- Although our society seems to sexualize everything, Husband and I have tried hard to shield our children as much as possible from
terriblepop music, television shows and movies with questionable content. We believe that although we can't prevent them from seeing or hearing inappropriate depictions of sexuality, we can protect their innocence for longer (and better) than society at large would expect.
- 5 y.o.'s feelings of love for Allison are very pure. He doesn't talk about how she looks or that he wants her to be his girlfriend because he wants a relationship exclusively with her. He just loves her. His actions mimic those that we, as a loving family, perform. He wants to do nice things for her, and treat her kindly.
So, we let him bring her the heart-covered, extra-detailed, 'married'-misspelled letter today. About 80% of me expects a nasty note from her parents, or disciplinary action from the school. Isn't there a no-tolerance policy regarding PDA? We allowed it because, well, it's love. Despite what bad experiences and bad music have led many of us to believe, the truth is that love is not a bad thing.
Now, I'm going to write a mushy-gushy letter to Husband, and then watch "The Princess Bride", and "Love, Actually" if there's time before I go pick up Allison's boyfriend from school. You should take some time today to write a love letter, even if you're not in a romantic relationship. Love is so much more than romance. It's all those extra details, like indigo and violet, and more rantom, colorful butterflies.
First kiss? First love?
*All names changed, in case their parents happen to stumble across my blog and get mad about not giving me permission to post about their children.