Once again I’ve been shirking my blogging responsibilities, this time due to a massive migraine, which has left me bed-ridden and quite dizzy. However, before my aching head sent me into a tailspin, the work week provided enough material for at least one good story. It seems that ever since Valentines’ Day, even grade school children are not safe from Cupid’s arrow. My third graders are particularly lovesick, but they haven’t quite figured out the economics of romance. One boy seems to have cornered the market on the infatuations of female classmates. Nearly a dozen little girls have set their designs on this one little boy! He is nice enough: well dressed, good manners, athletic, and a scholar. It would seem that he is the epitome of third grade boyhood, and because the girls have put him on a pedestal, they won’t even look at another boy, no matter how virtuous or adorable.
A couple of days ago during recess, I was approached by one of the lovesick admirers, who smooshed her face against my coat and began sobbing uncontrollably about how “someone” didn’t want to be her friend and it wasn’t fair because he was “friends” with “other people” but not her. Oh the humanity!
“Is this about a boy?” I asked gently.
“Ye–e–e–e–s!” she wailed. “It’s not fair! I just want to be his frie–end! But he said that he doesn’t want to be friends! And he’s the nicest boy in third grade, so why wouldn’t he want to be friends with me? And pretty soon I’m moo–ooving!”
“Well if he doesn’t want to be your friend then he is missing out, and maybe he isn’t as nice as you think. I say it’s his loss.” I tried to reassure her. Most likely the poor boy was tired of all the girls stalking him and shooting eye daggers at each other, and he had told the more clingy ones that he couldn’t be “friends” to avoid any confusion of exactly what kind of friendship was happening. I decided to prescribe my trademark pragmatic advice.
“You’ve heard of Facebook, right?” I asked as I smoothed her hair off of her tear stained cheeks.
“Uh–h–h–h–uh.” she stammered, still squashed up against me. I felt like crying a little myself. It was only the beginning of the week, and already a broken heart and snot on my new coat.
“Well, when I was in third grade I just absolutely loved a boy who I thought was so cool. He was cute, and smart, and just the best at everything. But he never liked me back, and I was sad, just like you are right now.” I smiled at her. “Then I grew up and forgot about him. And a few weeks ago, I saw a picture of him on Facebook, and he is all grown up just like me. And you know what?”
“Wha–what?” she sniffled.
“He’s terrible!” I exclaimed. “He’s bald, and has a big belly, and he has horrid taste in clothing. He hasn’t gone anywhere fun in his whole life like I have. And he doesn’t look at all as cute as he did in third grade. Besides, I met and married a much nicer boy. He’s my best friend. We go everywhere together, and he is much more fun to hang out with. Does any of this help?” I looked at her expectantly.
“No,” she said emphatically, without even thinking about it.
“No,” and she started crying harder.
“Oh, come on now, don’t do that! I know that it’s hard to trust what I’m saying because we can’t see the future. In fact, forget what I said about the bald ugly guy on Facebook. Just remember this. I promise that the you ten years from now is going to be so awesome, and twenty years from now — even better! And your life will be amazing. I can’t guarantee that you won’t ever have rough days, but I do know that your life will be great.”
Somehow she stopped crying in time for the recess whistle, and walked ahead of me to get into her line. As I was strolling toward the school, another student approached, a small sweet girl who also harbors a crush on our tiny Romeo. She looked me straight in the eye and said in a dead serious tone, “There is no one else. He is the only one,” and then she walked away. Very helpful. When I saw my love-struck student in the lunch room a few minutes later, she was talking and laughing with classmates. She looked happy and at ease. Good. Maybe my advice didn’t hit the target, but as long as my kiddos have friends to turn to for support, they will survive their heartaches in the years to come.
And I am SO glad I didn’t marry the boy I had a crush on in third grade!