The eight year-old, midway through a viewing of "Meet the Robinsons" and apropos of not much:
"Oh, yeah, I forgot to read something."
"A love letter."
"I have no idea. BECAUSE I HAVEN'T READ IT, MOM."
Ah. Of course.
"It may be from J___________. Yup, this is her handwriting."
The love letter consisted of five pieces of notebook paper, bound into a book by tying string through the holes (clever).
FOR PORCKR [Still using inventive spelling, I see.]
I like you, Porckr. [Strong start.]
I love you, Porckr. [Well, that's sweet.]
I wish you liked me, Porckr. [J___________, I think that you and I need to have the "you can't change him" conversation, because the sooner you learn that lesson, the happier you will be.]
YOU LOVE ME, PORCKR. [Okay, now we're just being stalkerish.]
[Stick figure illustration of Porckr and J___________. She got his hair right, but she gave him green eyes instead of brown. Guessing that she only had a limited supply of what appears to have been Crayola fine-tip markers at her disposal. There are two slashes under his left eye. Is he crying . . . green tears? Or has she wounded him in some way? J___________ is, herself, entirely green: green hair, eyes, smile and dress. Green with envy over the good fortune of some classmate to whom Porckr demonstrates more affection? One can only guess.]
Pages 3 through 5:
[Blank. Reserved for future gushing, or stalking.]
"Porckr" spent about 5.5 seconds evaluating her labor of love, shrugged, tossed it to me and resumed watching his Disney cartoon. And then I kind of felt sorry for J___________, her "borderline Kathy Bates in 'Misery'" tendencies notwithstanding. I imagined her slowly writing out each character, making sure that each letter was perfectly neat and straight. I imagined her agonizing over which colors to use for her drawing out of the options available to her: purple, pink, green, yellow and #2 pencil. And I imagined her imagining my son's reaction when he first viewed her work product. Indifference probably wasn't what she was going for.
I am on record that I want to raise my boys to be the type of boys worthy of female attention - not in the "oh, he's so hot" way (save for giving them half of their DNA and hoping for the best, that one's out of my hands) but in the "he's such a gentlemen that he's the first guy I think of come Sadie Hawkins dance time." (Do they still have those?) My archetype: a kid named Jason who was two classes behind me, and whose sister was two classes ahead. Said sister made it a point of teaching her little brother to treat the fairer sex the way she wanted to be treated. "We have the babies, Jason, so the least you can do is open a door, or return a phone call in a prompt manner." That stuck with me. So I look for teachable moments, and the appearance of the love letter was one of those. I waited until "Robinsons" was over and stated my case - as subtly and non-threateningly possible.
You know, that was awfully sweet of J____________ to write you that note.
"I know, Mom."
It was awfully brave of her, too.
"I KNOW, MOM. I thanked her before the last bell [so much for not knowing who sent it?] , and I told her that I recognized that it took a lot of time for her to write it and also a lot of courage to tell me how she felt - even though I already knew."
Ohhhkay, we still have a little work to do. But we're on the right track.