Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Katie's Re-Purposed Valentine

Katie had her first boyfriend last year in kindergarten.  His name is Alden.  When I'd volunteer as the reading helper on Fridays I'd catch them holding hands in class.  Well, their free hands at least.  They'd walk from station to station, hand-in-hand, their independent hands busy self-soothing: Alden sucking his thumb and Katie twirling her hair.

Reflecting the extent to which Katie's and Alden's relationship was acknowledged in class, one of her best friends, Patience, made Katie this valentine:

"Happy Valentine's Day Katie"

"I like to see you play with Alden.  From Patience"

As you can see, the original valentine said "Alden".  That was last year.  This year Katie has a new boyfriend, Aidan, our friends' kid who was born on the day we found out I was pregnant with Katie.  She doesn't get to see Aidan as much as she sees Alden since he goes to a different school, but Katie decided that Aidan makes a better boyfriend since "he likes to kiss and hug more than Alden does."  As she explains, "Alden and me still like to play spies at recess, but we're just friends now."  

That's why the other day when Katie found the valentine Patience gave her last year, she changed it so it has the name of her current boyfriend.  It reminds me of my sister Jenny's shoes.  She used to write the name of her boyfriend in marker along the white border of her Chuck Taylors.  Jenny wasn't lucky enough to have boyfriends with similar names, so she had lots of black marks all over her shoes where she had crossed her ex-boyfriends' names out completely.  By the time her feet outgrew the shoes, you could barely tell the border had once been white.

Such young love seems funny to me since I didn't have my first boyfriend until I was sixteen, and even then my love was so unrequited I never felt confident enough to write his name on anything other than my personal diary.  A late-blooming lover, I didn't get married until one month before I turned thirty-four.  But I understand that my way of doing things works best for me and that Katie will find her own way.  If she wants to get all lovey dovey at such a young age, that's fine.  I'm not too concerned about Katie's fickle little heart.   Despite the black rimmed Chucks she wore as a kid, my sister Jenny's been happily married for nearly thirty years to the same guy.  Katie's life will hopefully be long and full of lots of different kinds of love, both ephemeral and enduring.