playground love

This morning I was a part of a courtship of sorts. At the playground. With one of my kids.

His name is Joey and he’s 8-years old. After practicing his jumping jacks and hanging on the monkey bars, I told him that we have to go inside the classroom to work on his handwriting. He suddenly grew very quiet so I asked him what’s wrong, he said nothing, but he was staring somewhere on the other side of the playground.

After a couple of minutes, he finally told me that he doesn’t want to practice writing and that we should stay at the playground instead. Again, I asked him why. “Because my girlfriend is here”, he answered. Such an honest response. As if nothing is more important than simply being in the same place as the person you love.

So we decided to hang around at the playground for awhile, eyeing the group of girls where his ‘girlfriend’ was. I told him that we should go over and say 'hi' and then we really have to go back to his classroom. He seemed very cool about it at first, but as we approached the girls, he started hiding behind my back. I couldn’t help but smile. How many times have I acted like him before, all excited and giddy in anticipation but motionless and nervous in reality?

Since he suddenly turned mute on me, I had to do all the talking. I asked the girls who their names were, what class are they in, etc. I also asked if they wanted to play with us, they said okay, but when I turned around Joey had walked away and then he started running. When I eventually caught up with him, he was already close to his classroom. I said, “I thought you wanted to play with the girls.” He didn’t say anything but he was still staring at the playground.

Back in his classroom, he told me that he doesn’t want to practice writing because it’s so boring. “We’ll make it fun,” I promised. I suddenly had this exciting plan. So I asked him, “What if we’ll work on your upper case and lower case letters now so we can write a beautiful letter for Kate (the girl’s name) next week?”

He seemed to like this idea a lot. In fact, he was beaming.

Ah, young love.

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