raising a bilingual kid school yard crushes juanofwords

The Wonder Years.

So the other day Edgar and I were talking. Of all things our conversation ended up turning out to be about girls. He’s right about that same age that I was when all the little boys in my classroom, including myself, first began to discover that not all the girls in our school were prone to severe cases of the cooties. Okay, so to be completely honest there was just one little girl at McCook Elementary that seemed to have miraculously avoided contracting that hideous affliction that made us all but allergic to the rest of the little girls in our school.

Her name was Maria Cantu, and every single one of us age 10 or above at McCook Elementary who wasn’t already in love with one of our teachers was completely and madly “in love” with her. She commanded a room. The playground. The lunchroom. We worshipped her and I think she knew it. Even to this day I sometimes wonder whatever happened to Maria Cantu. Not that I would even expect her to remember me or anyone else from back then, or that I would even recognize her if she were sitting right next to me in the room right now. There’s no way. At this point she’s more a figment of my imagination than anything else.

But still, there was something special about that first crush that has somehow managed to stay with me for almost three decades of my life now.

I wondered if this would be Edgar’s Maria Cantu too?

Does his Maria – coincidentally that is her name too, Maria (I would say “what are the odds?” but we’re in a predominantly Mexican neighborhood and let’s face it Maria might as well be Kim, Cindy or Sandy here) – awaken in him the same innocent feelings of friendship and wanting to play with his crush at the playground or after school that my Maria did in me? When we go shopping for Valentine’s Day cards this year will he save one of the bigger, showier ones for her? Better yet, will he ask his crafty mother to make something extra special just for her? He is his mother’s son after all, and unlike me, Edgar and Angie are all about the little detalles.

Which brings me to another point in this whole schoolyard crush post. He first confessed to Anjelica that he had a crush on this little girl named Maria. I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t a little hurt by him telling her first instead of me, but like any good Mexican parent I then made it my personal mission to get him to confess that same secreto to me. After which of course I acted like it was the first time I had ever heard it in my life.

¿Pos qué más me quedaba? It’s not like I could rat myself out.

Anyway, it also made me think. What if we didn’t live here. Would his crush still be a Maria and would that make any difference whatsoever?

I’d say it’s safe to say I’m in plain loquito mode now. But I do think the crush is pretty cool too.

Time to take this boy Valentine shopping!

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