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.