My son Eric came into my classroom breathlessly last Thursday. He excitedly told me his friend Chase had asked a girl in his class to go to the upcoming fifth grade dance with him, and she said yes! Not only did she say yes, but she even cried because she was so happy! According to Eric that raised the awesome factor a lot. He then bodly stated he was going to ask a girl in his class, a girl he has liked since second grade, to the dance tomorrow too. Well, kind of. Since Chase had done so well and had experience at asking girls out, Eric was going to pay him in silly bands to do the deed. My assistant Lori and I shook our heads and I gently suggested that he should probably ask the girl out directly, not get his friend to do it. I reassured him that girls really like that and Lori nodded enthusiastically. I think Eric forgets that moms were also girls once, and he always looks surprised when I share insights into the secret world of females.
He sat down to brainstorm how he was going to ask her out, thinking maybe he would approach her at hall duty in the morning. Lori asked which post she was at, since she has an identical twin sister that most adults cannot tell apart, that also works hall duty in the morning. Apparently Eric wasn’t sure either, but he thought Mary’s post was down by the cafeteria. I pictured a horrified Eric asking out the wrong sister in the hallway and the chaos that would ensue. Luckily he decided to write her a note:
Would you go to the dance with me?
Circle one: yes! sure! I can’t wait!
I smile broke on my face as I read the choices, his hedging the bet by not giving her a way to say no. You have to love an optimist. Lori had suggested this tactic to Eric as it had worked for one of her college aged sons beautifully. I told him to see if her teacher was still in the room and maybe he could leave it on her desk. We wished him luck on his way out the door. About five minutes later he walked back into the room, the letter crumpled in his hand, matching the look on his face. My heart dropped, thinking maybe he had seen Mary in the hall and she cruelly rebuffed him. “What happened?” I asked. He looked at me, his big blue eyes sad and told me that the fifth grade teachers said no and that no one was allowed to ask someone to the dance. He turned to throw the note in the trash, but I asked to have it, just in case they changed their verdict. But secretly, I want to keep the letter as evidence of Eric’s journey; the heart of a little boy growing up and growing brave.