The adolescent love scene

My 10-year-old daughter has her first crush. It’s not her first, and it’s not a crush she’s quick to correct, but her face changes and a flurry of filters go up when she talks about him, which inclines me to think it really is a crush.

I realize I’ve snatched the note from him when she agrees to let me read it, to see what this William has to say, and I’m first taken by his penmanship which is expert, unusual, the handwriting of an artist you can tell by the joy taken in making the simple somehow beautiful: the intricacy and precision in the characters, how he wraps the lower case y’s in broad swoops and long tails, how it’s interesting to read just by how it’s presented. He has a crush on my daughter by how he writes her name, I think.

And I won’t violate the privacy of their exchange completely, but will include this excerpt:

Thank you for being a nice, fantastic, cool, awsome (sic), respectful friend.

It’s signed From William, and the font size goes down when he writes his name, as if he’s made himself smaller in relation to her.

So we talk about this, because now I am establishing trust with my daughter, in how we discuss intimate matters (even though I blog about it on the Internet), and she insists it’s not a crush, she just likes him. She likes that he draws dragons and he’s funny and smart.

And it’s not a crush because she still has feelings for Jack and that feels wrong — another category of emotion she will have to confront and reconcile some day, soon.

What’s unexpected in all this for me is how I felt about it. I did snatch the note because that was instinct, a kind of protective thing, but I felt a real eagerness for her to experience true love, too. And as a 10-year-old it may be truer in some ways than it will her whole life, when other things come into play.

William wrote the note for her because it was my daughter’s turn to be the featured student in class, something they call Star of the Week, when the classmates write a note with something nice, what they like about the featured one, and it gets compiled in a small ring of index cards from each student.

On the cover of the note, on the other side, he writes her name at the base of a snow-covered mountain with some lenticular clouds hovering where they should, as lenticular clouds, and a large petaled flower rising up in the foreground to meet the top of the mountains.

Today, my wife and I celebrate our 11-year wedding anniversary and there’s a sun for each day spread out over the five-day weather forecast.

Here’s to spring and Friday, wherever it finds you.

Nature imitating art

Nature imitating art


Categories: inspiration

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

26 replies

  1. Happy anniversary, Bill and Mrs. Bill, and thank you for this lovely post.


  2. How exciting for her. I always worried about my children being in love, not for what they’ll get up to but for the risk of heartbreak. How can one coin have such opposite sides?
    Every now and then I’ll have a dream in which I’m falling in love, or at least smitten. It’s usually someone I know, which makes me embarrassed the next time I see them. Apparently this is quite common but no less unnerving. I like the feeling in those dreams, though. Nothing quite like it. So to get it real life? Lucky kid…
    Here’s to you and the missus still feeling the soul tickles after 11 years. Best.


    • Thank you my good friend. I get you, on the fear and the heartbreak. It felt good for a moment to just feel the good parts for her, and glad and hopeful she’ll get to experience that. Like soft-serve ice cream, maybe. Or perhaps I’ve gotten myself pinned under a margarita, I’m afraid. It’s just so stinking nice here…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A beautiful post. They do they same thing (“Star of the Week!”) at my daughters’ school, which is nothing like my own elementary school experience. That was much more Lord of the Flies.



    • Yeah, funny you make that comparison Karen. I took my same daughter by my old elementary school in Allentown PA when we were there last week, as an exercise in Gaining Perspective On How Good We Have It in Sammamish, WA (where she attends a brand new school with like native plants and landscaping vs. this other school where I went). So yes, very good. Glad you enjoyed the post and hope that spring has found you in Philly.


  4. Happy Anniversary!

    That’s quite an analysis of the note. I’m not sure which impresses me more, that the kid included proper lenticular clouds in the pic or that you properly identified them as such.

    My oldest daughter is only six, and Daddy is the only man in her life. I intend to keep it that way until she’s out of college and employed.


  5. it all sounds quite romantic. in a 10 year old way –


  6. How lovely. You brought back my first crush — Chip. He was smart and funny, blond with wire-rimmed glasses. And you know what? That is precisely the description of my husband!


    • My wife has a brother Chip. I wonder could it be the same…no, sorry. That’s a nice story Elyse, thanks for sharing and glad you enjoyed this little snapshot of ours, thanks for stopping by! Happy spring to you and yours. Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy anniversary! (Ours is on Monday, 14 years). I am kind of obsessed with tween/teen/adolescent love. The reality of it (even as an adult you can look back and shrug), the hyper-drive feelings, the certainly that the world will surely melt away underneath you if your crush responds in any way. I love it. It’s like deep, rich soil to plant in. I hope your daughter navigates her feelings. Oh, and I’m impressed that your school system is still teaching cursive writing??


    • Deep, rich soil is right! Good one Dina. And happy anniversary to you guys too! You know, on the cursive thing: no, they’re not teaching it…which makes this william all the more mysterious and interesting to me. Hope you are enjoying your weekend! I am with my kids at their German school now, school on Saturday yippee!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Congrats, Bill, on the anniversary. We just hit our 15th on April Fool’s Day (yes, we like that bit of silliness). I was just talking with my own 10 year old about her latest crushes. She has a boy bestie (since they were 3) and can’t imagine liking any other boy besides him. I cringe when I think how badly things might go, as they go through these tween years. I’m hoping some Williams show up as deflection.


    • Yes, the cringe alright. What inclined me to write this was feeling instead a pang of yearning for her instead, which I thought unusual. Because there is the larger cringe, of course. Congratulations on your 15 — Dawn and I got together in 99 and it’s been a wonderful time, what a journey together. Enjoy your Sunday Michelle! – Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  9. My 13-year old daughter just broke up with her first boyfriend. Shane. (Who names their kid “Shane?!”) On Saturdays, we’d drop her off at the public library where his mom worked and they’d study together. They’re in the same French class. I’m mostly touched by how her girlfriends rallied to her side to make sure she was okay and not too sad.


    • Yeah: Shane. There was a spurt of Shanes inspired by that stupid western story (“Shame on you, Shane.”) and I haven’t had much luck with Shanes myself. One was a little wrestler guy with a big mouth; another a fellow Frat pledge (also with a chip on his shoulder).


  10. I have been banned from my children’s love lives. My daughter won’t discuss her relations with anyone with me. In some ways I feel like I am missing out and in other ways I like not knowing.



  1. The Blush of First Love: One Note at a Time | The Green Study
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