I should be doing the ironing. It is piling up and beginning to get in the way. But who wants to iron when you can blog? And I am full of inspiration and need to write it now, striking while the iron is hot so to speak.
Sorry. That was a bad joke. Please don’t stop reading.
So tonight we continue the saga of Taylah and her boy troubles. Last Monday and Tuesday they were all consuming, but by Thursday she was over it. I asked her about it and she flippantly replied, ‘oh I have forgotten about that! I’m just making friends with him.’ I was amazed by her response, and quietly prided myself on having the most mature seven year old, with respect to boys.
I thought that was more or less the end of it. His name has come up only infrequently since. One of those times was this morning when she said, ‘hey mum, did you see that boy that walked past us on the bridge yesterday? ‘
‘Oh, well that was Jason. He looked embarrassed when he saw us. He gave a funny little smile.’ Why would he be embarrassed? I thought. And then, with a shock, I realised why. He was walking down the bridge, saw us, and thought, ‘oh there is wonderful, beautiful Taylah, whom my heart desires…and there is her mum.’
I am the mother of a child who is the object of another’s affection. When did this happen? Surely I am not old enough for this? One day I’m going to be referred to as, ‘my girlfriend’s mum.’ That thought is just too scary to contemplate! I’m only twenty eight! I’m not old enough for any would be Romeo to be viewing as his future mother in law!
That was slightly off topic, sorry, I’ll get back to it.
Anyway, the thought occurred to me this morning, that perhaps we needed to be having a little chat regarding her friendship with this boy. Taylah is so beautifully innocent, and wants to be friends with everyone, and I was concerned that in her desire to put the whole unpleasant ordeal behind her, she might be inadvertently leading him on. My only qualm was in how to bring up this conversation without rehashing the whole thing, and compromising any of that endearing innocence.
I shouldn’t have worried. This afternoon the issue brought itself up.
As we were walking back to the car, Taylah asked if she could talk to me this afternoon. ‘Absolutely, ‘ I said, and while Bridie and Bailey enjoyed their outside play time, Tay and I sat on the couch and talked about boys.
He was acting weird, she told me. She was beginning to think that maybe he had a crush on her again. ‘How does that make you feel?’ I asked. I was trying to gauge whether the feelings were reciprocated at all. ‘It makes me feel funny… And kind of nervous around him.’
As the conversation went on, and she told me all the things that had been happening, (smiling glances, excuses to touch her, letting her ‘push in’ in line, telling on her friends but not her…you get the idea) it soon became abundantly clear to me that Jason does, in fact have a crush on her.
So I told her so.
And she cried.
Up until that point it had kind of been a novelty that was just a supposition; now it was an ugly truth staring her in the face, and she wasn’t ready for it.
As she cried into my shoulder, (all the more when I confirmed her fear that he probably had told his friends), I wished I could freeze the moment. Record it somehow so that I could stop and replay it in the future when she cries on my shoulder because a boy doesn’t like her.
At age seven she is blissfully unaware of not only how physically attractive she is, but also of how internally beautiful she is. She full of life and excitement; she will try just about anything and is friendly to anyone. It’s no wonder a boy has a crush on her. I’m surprised more don’t!
But she doesn’t see it. She doesn’t understand why someone who she just wants to be friends with, would think of her as anything more. It is an affront to her, and for that I am so very grateful.
I remembered, as I held her, about a boy named Jake in year five, who had a crush on me. I remembered how I felt so very similar to Taylah, appalled by this turn of events, because it was not something I wanted.
Until today I had forgotten that feeling. I can remember all the unrequited love; I can recall how that feels. But I had forgotten that disconcerting terror that occurs when you realise that someone sees you differently to how you see them, and you have no idea what to do about it.
So I wanted to stop this moment and remember it; remind her when she is older and she thinks, ‘why doesn’t anyone like me?’ that they did, and they probably still do. And that sometimes when love doesn’t work out the way we want it, it’s because God has got something infinitely better than we could hope or imagine.
But I didn’t say that today. No, we talked about the temptation to be rude and nasty now in order to get him to not like her; how that is wrong even though it feels like the only option. We talked about boundaries and how she has the right to feel comfortable, and she can ask people to leave her alone, or not to touch her, and that is not rude.
We talked about how we can not change how other people feel about us, and that sometimes feelings get hurt. That’s why the bible tells us not to awaken love until the right time.
We talked about what needed to be said at age seven, and left what can wait until she is older and mature enough to carry it.
I don’t feel old enough to have a child dealing with these issues, but the fact of the matter is I do. And thankfully I also have a relationship with Taylah where she can come and talk to me about this stuff, and not face it blindly on her own, struggling through the confusion.
Cupid may have shot his arrow, but today at least, wisdom ruled the day.