You may have seen already on my Twitter a quote from one of my sixth graders' journals. The topic had to do with having met someone new. He told about meeting the girl he liked. She's very pretty, apparently, and he likes her smile and laugh. He closed with this:
"She is the only girl I love and only will be. I would never let her be sad."
Adorable, right? Of course, we know that nobody has the power to keep another person from ever being sad, but isn't it lovely that he thinks he could? I'm confident that he really does mean it, too. This is a boy who is always smiling. In fact, I can't even use the patented smile if you're lying trick that is so effective with most middle schoolers, because he'll smile either way. And he loves to help people and make them happy. So it stands to reason that he might believe he could keep the object of his affection from ever being sad.
I thought about how I'd want that to end if I were to write it about someone. How to change it to make it no less sweet, but more realistic. Here's what I came up with:
I would never let him be sad alone.
That's not to say that I'd pledge to never let him be alone while sad. I don't imagine that my constant presence has restorative properties. Quite the contrary, I imagine. A person needs some alone time. Also, I have a job, so it would be pretty unrealistic to imagine that I could follow through on the never leaving him alone thing.
It happened that, around the same time I read the journal, I saw that Theresa had posed the question on Tumblr today, "What does being in love feel like?" and Smartasshat answered, "You experience their joy (and pain) as your own." So yeah, that's what I mean. To laugh his joy and cry his grief, as E.E. Cummings put it.
Just some thoughts on love from me, a sixth grader, two invisible internet people, and a great American poet. Please do join in the conversation. It's ok, you don't need to feel you're competing for the best way to express it. That sixth grader clearly has all of us beat already.