My oldest is eight years old and last year she had her first crush.
I had for gotten that it can happen that young.
There were others that she would talk about with her friend. Exclamations such as, "Oh he is so cute." and "Everybody LOVES so-and-so." abounded. Laughing and teasing ebbed and flowed as it does with children.
But with this one, this one was different. My little girl would blush. She would blush, or be excited, or get this dreamy little look on her face.
One day she was self aware enough to ask me this question.
"Mommy, whenever I am with Abby, or when I think about her, it feels like there are all of these butterflies flying around in my tummy and on my skin. What does that mean?"
My little girl had a crush. My little girl had a crush on a girl. And for all the teasing and proclamations of crushes in the past, she had no idea that what she was feeling was the real deal.
For a split second I had a surge of questions in my head. Could this be a phase? Will she be gay? Will she be bi/pan/queer like me? What would be easier? Is it already too late for my baby to have a simple happy life? How will she figure this out? When will she figure this out?
My little girl had barely started elementary school and already I was trying label her experiences and fit them into a neat little box. Feelings and experiences that weren't even mine.
I took a deep breath and looked into my daughter's stunning blue-green eyes. Then I tried to give her what I was still looking for. Freedom. Freedom to decide for herself what things meant and how it was to experience them. I hope for her sake, she'll have the freedom to follow those butterflies wherever they lead.