Puppy Love by Margaret Hart
This week, as I was sitting in the media center at my son’s school waiting for him to finish his last game at chess club, a friend of his came up to me and announced that two girls in the club had “a crush” on my son. One of the girls overheard this, and turned red. I was a little embarrassed. Both for her, and for me.
At what age do boys and girls first start to experience romantic feelings toward one another? Is it possible this “puppy love” starts as early as age seven or eight? I think it does. My first crush was on a cute boy in elementary school who gave me a box of candy hearts on Valentine’s Day. I saved that crumpled box for years and years. That crush was so powerful that I remembered his name four decades later, and as an adult, reconnected with him on Facebook.
Another case of puppy love was confessed to me a few weeks ago. It was a beautiful fall day, and we were on a hike at a local park with a family whose daughter has always been demonstrative in her feelings for my son. This day, however, as we walked along a fern-lined trail together, she said she had something to tell me about my son. “I really like Ethan…” she paused. “…In that way,” she said. I was sure I heard what I heard, and that it wasn’t just the beauty of our surroundings causing her to express feelings of love, or me to imagine it. But when I looked at this sweet, seven-year-old girl, I just couldn’t imagine that she really knew what “in that way” meant. I was in denial.
It is sweet to hear these thoughts of affection about my son. It is heartwarming to know that my son has so many friends, and perhaps a few admirers. But I think, maybe, that I am in denial mostly because I am not ready to give him up to another girl.