Tonight, I witnessed what I think was my son’s first crush. I hesitate to use that word because people often associate it with lust or romantic love. When I say ‘crush’, I mean he was really awed by someone. This someone’s name is Lilah. She has these huge green eyes and a stripe of freckles across her face. She is seven. M, being two, stood mesmerized as Lilah jumped from rock to rock, in a circle, over and over again. He stared with his mouth agape with, perhaps, even a little drool in the corners, as she went round and round. Then, when she slowed down and came to a rest, I encouraged M to say hello and to not just stare. He waved and smiled and walked over to a big rock near her and sat down, alternating between petting the rock and smiling at the object of his affection.
I love the amazement my son derives from things as small as a child running in circles. I love that he knows nothing of war or violence or hunger or injustice. The other day at gymnastics M was using a piece of foam to try to get his teacher. She was kind of rolling around pretending that he had stabbed her with a sword. I explained to her that he had a tickle stick and was tickling her and that he knows nothing of violent play..not yet, anyway. I know I can’t always shelter him, nor do I think that would protect him. What I want to do is feed his curiosities, encourage relationship building and allow him the opportunity to soak up the joy of other children running in circles. I think that will help him grow into the kind of man who speaks out against injustice, of all kinds. That would make this mama proud.