“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”Gilda Radner

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Broken Heart of a Preschooler

Driving home from preschool today, a little boy in the backseat had a sick little heart. He's a wonderful boy, the sort that other parents look at and say, "Golly, I wish he were mine." I know, fellow parents, I know. (But feel comforted by the fact that he wakes faithfully at 2 am every morning to sing "Video Killed the Radio Star." Everything's a tradeoff.)

"How was school?" I asked him.

"It was okay." But his voice was morose, low and quiet.

"Just okay?"

"Well, Hester* said she doesn't want to be my friend anymore."

I frowned. I'm never surprised by children and their school time drama, but Hester? Hester is a darling little girl who, as far as I know, is nice to everyone. Which can only mean one thing.

"Noah, what happened?"

He let out a huge sigh. "Well, I don't know. Nothing, I guess. She just doesn't want to be friends."


"What! Why do you always think I did something bad?"

Well. That's a question for another day.

"Noah, what happened that made Hester say that to you?"

Another huge sigh. "Well, I just told her I was in love with her. I wanted her to know that I love her so much, because she's beautiful, and I want to marry her. But...she wasn't into it."

I felt tears burn my eyes and my heart collapse a little as I peered into the rearview mirror to gauge the level of devastation in his expression. What I found, however, was a scowl.

"Don't look at me! Look away! Just drive!"

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" I refocused on the road, but couldn't stop my chin from jutting in disbelief that ANY girl would not want to marry my Noah. I mean, he's a little high-maintenance. And narcissistic (what child isn't?). And loud. And fiery.

But he's also spirited and strong and brilliant (I could tell the moment I saw him in the hospital) and so, so full of love.

"Maybe you could bring her a special Valentine next week at the big party," I suggested.

"Ugh! Mom! Stop talking! You don't know anything!"

"I'm sorry! It was just a suggestion!"

"Oh. Well. I don't think it will work. I don't think she'll ever love me."

I ducked my head out of the mirror so he wouldn't see me cringe in empathetic heartbreak.

"Maybe," he said then, a spark of hope lighting up the car, "maybe we could have a playdate. You could call her mom and see if she can come to my house. And then she can see me rock out. That might make her love me."

"Oh! Um, well, I don't really know Hester's mommy, but I could see about something like that." But what I was thinking was, "Is that frowned upon? Boy/girl playdates following a confession of one's love and the other's refusal to return it?" Maybe that Hester's a bit of a brat, really. Maybe she could use some lessons in manners. And feelings.

"Yeah. That would be good. I could use my drums, or my guitar. I could sing on my microphone." His voice grew quiet again. "Then I would impress her. You know. So she can just love me back."

How could anyone resist this boy? :(

*Hester is a pseudonym to protect the identity of Noah's love. Pretty generous of me, all things considered.

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