Houston, we have a girlfriend.... I wish I was kidding, but I’m not. Our oldest son, Luke, came home a few weeks ago with the news that he now has a girlfriend. Though this is a terrifying concept, we humored him, given that it started the last two weeks of school, she doesn’t live in our neighborhood, and he has no phone or other way in which to contact her now that school has ended and summer has begun. That being said, I am screaming inside. I can NOT be old enough to have a child with working hormones! It's unthinkable.
For reasons that escape me, which is probably a good thing, this sweet young thing nicknamed my son Gummy Bear. Not kidding. No idea. I’m just trying to keep my face expressionless and roll with it. So, of course, he spent the last week of school harassing us to buy a bag of gummy bears to give to her the last day of school. Which is kind of cute. And he wore his dad’s gummy bear t-shirt. Which is disturbing on several levels:
a) My husband has a gummy bear t-shirt (it’s really pretty cool – the bear has his ears bitten off and it says I Can’t Hear You)
b) Luke can wear his dad’s shirt. He’s 10.
c) The gummy bear theme is this pervasive. And he is this into it as “their thing”. Ugh.
But, I digress. Back to the story. Gummy bear requests from Luke, lots of eye rolling and teasing from me. And then, one evening on the way to swim practice, he told me this story.
Luke: So, I told "Sweetie" (let's just refer to her as that) I was going to bring her a surprise.
Me: Oh? (keeping a look of polite, no-I-am-not-freaking-out-at-this-conversation interest on my face). Was she excited?
Luke: No, She told me not to give her a present. She says she doesn't deserve one.
Me: Why? (more curious than freaked out at this point)
Luke: I asked her that. And she said, "Because I'm me".
Me: What did you say to that? (no longer having to feign interest....I was riveted)
Luke: I told her, "So? What's wrong with being you? You still deserve a present". So, I really want to get her the gummy bears tonight. Ok, Mom?
I sat and listened to my son as he told this story with such open-hearted innocence, and my thoughts were bittersweet. Bitter: How sad is it that already, at only age 10, this young woman-in-the-making so clearly hears the voice of doubt in her head, and she believes it as it whispers, “You’re not enough”. In her mind, is the whisper already a shout? Does it overpower the innocence and creativity and positive reinforcement that should still exist? Sweet: My son’s response – his kind and compassionate heart was compelled to not only see her as a person of beauty, but to express to her that she has value. That “me” is absolutely worth gifts and recognition. My heart sang through its tears at this.
So I smiled at my wonderful son, quit rolling my eyes, and stopped at three different stores until we found the right gummy bears.
Solidarity, sisters. Never doubt your worth...or turn down a present :).