The First Crush
It’s spring when a young junior high school girl’s fancy turns to ….her first crush.
There is nothing more startling than when your child come comes home and announces that he or she has REALLY noticed a member of the opposite sex. Hang on, moms, I guarantee this is going to be a bumpy ride. I have a friend whose daughter Madison, 13, claims she is in LOVE with a boy in history class. Yes, the girl is using the l-word and her father is turning 13 shades of purple each time she says it. But she says it. She can’t stop talking about this boy.
His name is Aidan and he’s 13 with short-shaved hair and braces. He has already been deemed “way too cute.” He has also borrowed our heroine Madison’s pencil. Here’s the thing….he never gave it back. “That means he like-likes me,” Madison told Mom in the car on the way home from school. “Does it mean he like-likes me, Mom?? What does it mean?” Ut uh…
As a mother, there are moments as delicate as your grandmother’s white lace. They usually occur in the car on the way to soccer practice with 10,000 other things happening at the same moment. Mom usually doesn’t have time to dwell. She must hit the ground running…even when there is no time to think or ask or ponder. The topic was this crush. My friend didn’t want to discourage what were very natural feelings as her tween daughter continued to take shaky steps towards adulthood. At the same time, she didn’t really know this boy. Was this a good thing…or trouble?
“Mom, I’m sure he’s going to ask me out,” Madison boasted and her mom gulped. Mom wanted to approach crush-land in slow motion; daughter wanted to get moving. “How do you know he’s going to (cough) ask you anywhere?” her mom responded. “He gave me a thumbs up sign when he saw me on my way to the bathroom today,” Madison cooed. For a minute, the mom had to stop worrying and smile. Yes, this is what passed for seventh grade “like liking” someone these days. He celebrated her getting a hall pass?
It’s fun to smile about this, but moms know that moments like these are going to lead to discussions and decision. “She’s not dating until she’s 16. Her father and I won’t allow it. Should I tell her the facts of life?” the mom asked me, and there were no easy answers.
I reminded my friend that crushes are a natural part of growing up. Monitoring is a mother’s right and responsibility. And, as always, it was another time to get on that high wire and walk the line between encouraging growth, but in a slow and steady way.
Of course, sometimes life has a way of working itself out. The other day, young Madison came home heartbroken. It seems that her crush borrowed a marker from a girl named Holly and wrote “her” name on his arm. “They’re seriously going out now,” Madison cried, but she wasn’t too upset when her mom suggested a quick shopping trip and dinner to feel better. (Her Dad was also thrilled. A die-hard Bears fan, he had found out that the crush liked THE GREEN BAY PACKERS!)
As for Mom, she got a pause here and really think about her daughter’s future and all the rites of passage they were about to embark on.
Of course, Madison would have another crush, but her mom would decide now how to handle it so mom and daughter wouldn’t end up…crushed.