"Sure, you can have a girlfriend."
"Remember at daycare Miss Kathy said I couldn't have a wife until I graduated from college?"
"Yes, I remember," I said and stifled a snort. "So who's your girlfriend?"
"Her name is Kate and she is very beautiful." He pursed his lips and then smiled a secret smile to himself — half-pleased, half-embarrassed. And then his little cheeks went crimson.
My god. The boy is smitten, I thought.
"What color hair does she have?" I asked, checking to see if he was staying true to the blondes.
He sat there with the same pleased look on his face and it was so tender, so sweet, I felt I would burst. Did you know five-year-old boys got like this? I didn't.
"Is Kate in your class?" I asked.
"No, she's in the class next door. But I go over there to do the calendar with her. That's our job."
"Oh. Do you get to see her at lunch or on the playground?" I wondered how my little Casanova had wooed a girl from another class. Love knows no boundaries, I guess.
"Yes. I eat lunch with her everyday."
My eyebrows shot up. This was obviously serious.
"She is the most beautiful girl I ever saw."
Because I couldn't contain the adorableness, I immediately texted The Boyfriend to update him on Cracky's new relationship status.
"He's in love," The Boyfriend responded. I paused and stared at the screen. My initial reaction was to laugh, but then I reconsidered.
"Are you in love?" I asked Cracky.
"With who?" I replied, still surprised, half-expecting him to say he was in love with me, his mom, of course.
"With Kate," he said, simply and certainly.
So there it is.
And I won't laugh at it. I still remember the boy I loved in Kindergarten. I was in love with Jason for the first half of elementary school, until he moved away. And then I loved him a while longer — until blue-eyed Eric moved to our school.
Those childhood loves are still just as real to me as any other I have loved.
Is that odd?
I was always faithful like that. Cracky is too, it appears. He was "married" to a girl in daycare for two years, despite Miss Kathy's Rule.
We are lovers, the boy and I. Romantics, through-and-through. I wonder if Romanticism is Nature or Nurture? Are you born with a willingness, an eagerness to love? Are we all? I do love to see the world through my son's eyes, and to witness the newness and innocence of schoolyard love. As I write this, I remember standing with Jason and Robin in the doorway of the elementary school. Robin had announced her love for Jason, right in front of me, Jason's known best friend and suspected, besotted, unspoken-for girlfriend.
Robin demanded that he choose.
"I choose Mandy," he said.
And I'm quite sure I stood in that doorway with the same little smile I saw on Cracky's face last night.