Yes, my hopeless romantics…it’s about that time. With Valentine’s Day is RIGHT around the corner, who knew that…at 9 years old…all the buzz in Maya’s class would be around who has a crush on who, who’s asked who to be their valentine and of course, the big school dance. Ernesto and I think to ourselves, she’s too young for all this! I remember when I was her age, I barely talked to anyone. I was so shy and awkward. I was a bit of a tomboy too. Valentines, dances and boys were far from my mind. My favorite thing to do at 9 was come home from school and watch Scooby Doo and eat my afternoon snack (or two). Wow, have things have changed in this new generation. They love make-up, music, fashion and of course boys. It’s scary to think about how fast they grow up. They want to be little adults so fast, it’s mind numbing. Many of our friends and relatives in their mid-forties have children who are already teenagers or older (we got a late start) and they tell us “embrace her childhood and innocence for as long as you can…because before you know it, she’ll be moved out and on her own. You’ll barely see her!”
As I think about our attempts to cling to her innocence, even the simple little pleasures like makeup, cutsie outfits, sappy music videos and little boy crushes may seem like no big deal, but I’ve been told that’s how it all begins. The boy craziness, the body image, the peer pressure to look a certain way, the materialistic influences and all the subtle things that might indirectly accelerate the unnecessary.
So let’s get on with our story. Maya has been talking about a boy in her class for quite some time. He is the rambunctious one who tends to give the teacher a bit of a challenge. She is always quick to share his latest antics in class, but is somehow secretly intrigued by him. One day after school last week, she came home with news that he asked her to be his Valentine. She tried to play it ‘cool’ as if it was just a normal happening, but we could tell this particular moment meant something to her. The tough part as a parent is to try to support her and stay positive while not necessarily encouraging the idea of the romance aspect, especially at this age. The truth is, her dad wouldn’t have any of it. You could see the frustration in his face. I, on the other hand, was more neutral. I didn’t want to shatter her hopes of a pleasant Valentine’s Day and of course the big dance she so looked forward to. I didn’t want her to feel that being asked to be someone’s Valentine was in any way strange or unacceptable. I think I convinced her dad it was all going to be okay, but not without some effort. So I assured him I would take her to the dance along with a friend and would be with them be entire time. Sure she might entertain the idea of a dance or two with her friends and ‘proposed Valentine’…but only fast dances… (any near future slow dances would be reserved for her dad).
And to think this is ONLY the beginning. I can’t imagine 9 more years of this without pulling our hair out! We remind ourselves to always have faith in our daughter and trust that she will make smart decisions and always follow her intuition. THANK GOODNESS she almost has her black belt in martial arts. Ernesto insists that will be her lifeline in any ‘questionable’ situation. God bless all parents with daughters and keep up the great work!