First Grade, First Love


Last week, my 6-year-old Leeana, and I were walking home from the grocery store when a little boy (I’ll call Bill) caught sight of Leeana and started to scream, “It’s her! She’s here! Run!” and took off running full speed in the opposite direction. Leeana got a kick out of it.

“Do you know that boy?” I asked Leeana.

“Yeah. He goes to my school,” she said, still giggling.

“Does he always act like that?”

“Yeah, now he’s scared of me.”

“Why is he scared of you? What did you do to him?” I couldn’t imagine anyone being afraid of Leeana. She’s the gentlest little girl I’ve ever known. She cried for an hour after watching Brother Bear.

“I didn’t do anything. Yesterday he asked me to marry him.”

At this point I literally had to bite down on my tongue and hold my breath. I couldn’t believe she didn’t tell me about her first marriage proposal, but I didn’t want to freak her out. If she didn’t think it was a big deal, we’d keep it that way. After a moment I asked, “What do you mean?”

“When we were sitting criss cross apple sauce on the carpet, he kept looking at me funny, and then he told me that I’m so beautiful and he loves my hair.”

“What did you say?” I asked, still struggling to contain my excitement at the cuteness that I was experiencing second hand.

“I didn’t know what to say. I just smiled. And then he gave me a blue ring with a dinosaur on it.”

“Where’s the ring?”

“Another boy took it from me because he said it was his, and Bill wasn’t supposed to give it away,” she was so nonchalant it was killing me.

“And then what happened?”

“He said we have to get married, but I told him we have to wait until my birthday because I have to be older first.”

“And what did he say?”

“He said, ‘No, we have to get married tomorrow.’”

Uh oh. First grade peer pressure.

“What did you tell him when he said that?” I asked.

“Nothing. Tomorrow was Saturday, so I wasn’t gonna see him, anyway.”

My girl doesn’t need any help.

(illustration courtesy of Anton Brand/