Young Love

For Natalie.

Once upon a time, I had a 5 year old son. He was S.O.O.O. excited to start kindergarten. School lunch, full-day classes, desks? Like chocolate dipped heaven, that.

He kept a few of his pre-k friends, but since he was only half day pre-K, he didn't get to meet all the kids who's parents were anal-retentive tightwads who forced their four year old to go to school 8 hours a day when they still weren't capable of staying awake for 8 hours straight because THEIR kid is special and THEIR kid needs the head start into kindergarten cool kids until he started kindergarten. When he did, Captain Social shined.

He made tons o'friends. He was The It Boy. Everyone loved him, and he schmoozed all their mothers Eddie Haskal style, so he always had a playdate and a group of kids who loved him. He changed his name in kindergarten to simply TXU, because it's cool and that's how he rolls.

His very best friend was named Sam. Sam was funny, and edgy, and taller than him, and was living with some teachers at the school. Sam was also a girl. Sam came from a really bad home. Sam's mom was a drunk and a drug addict. Sam's mom and boyfriend did stuff in front of her. She moved in with her sister and her husband, who were both teaching at the school (as was the husband's mother, both of my boys first grade teacher, and is the greatest teacher in the history thereof. Just sayin') and began a normal life with normal people while her big sister battled her mother in court for custody of her.

I. Loved. Sam.

Sam needed something. I don't know what it was exactly, but she wasn't horrid or evil or naughty or clingy. She was just older than she should have been, you know, and she needed to be five. I was more than happy to let her be five on my watch.

2of3 and Sam were Best Friends Forever. They were inseparable. They had play dates all the time, they sat next to each other at lunch, she came over so I could babysit her when her sister and brother had to work late.

They all lived a few blocks up from us on the street we all walked down to school each day, so most days we'd catch them at the corner and make the 4 block walk from my house together. One day, however, we were running a little late. We hit the main street and started walking down when we saw Sam and her brother a block ahead of us.

"Hey, mom, there's Sam!"

"I see them, honey." *walk walk walk*

"But, yeah, I can't tell you what I have on her."

*giggle* "Why can't you tell me, dude?"

"Because she told me not to."

*gulp* "Um, now you have to tell me."

"I have a crush on her."

"I kinda figured. And what does that mean, to have a crush on someone?"

"It means that I sit next to her at lunch and we hold hands sometimes, too. And there's one other thing we do, but she told me not to tell you that, either."

*gasp* "And what is that? You have to tell me now."

"Well, sometimes we kiss. Like this."

And that tiny little five year old stuck his tongue ALL THE WAY OUT. And I puked in my mouth a little. I patted him on the head and as we walked on, I made a mental note to enforce that No Doors Closed rule I have a tad bit more strictly.

(Personal aside, I was 18 the first time I stuck my tongue down someone's Dorito laden, Dr. Pepper Drinkin' throat. That boy is miles ahead of me.)