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Will You Marry Me?
“Will you marry me?” The three-year-old’s tone was completely sincere.
I smothered a laugh as I saw the emotions flitting across the face of the object of the boy’s affections.
“Marry you?” The incredulity was obvious on Isabel’s honest little face. “Why?”
“Because I want a girlfriend.” Tow-headed Aidan selected a crayon off of the Sunday school classroom table and turned his serious blue eyes to the five-year-old beside him. It was easy to see why Aidan had fallen for her. Isa’s light brown skin complimented her shoe-button eyes, and her red T-shirt lent color to her cheeks. On most days, the overall effect was to create a picture of a sweet, innocent young girl.
But her “sweet, innocent” eyes were flashing fire as she rounded on poor Aidan.
“You want a girlfriend? You want me to be your girlfriend?”
“No.” Aidan thrust his chin up stubbornly. “I want you to marry me and then be my girlfriend.”
“That’s not how it goes,” Isa informed him haughtily. “You get a girlfriend first and then a husband.”
“Oh.” Aidan’s forehead creased in thought. “Then let’s do it that way.”
“I don’t want to be your girlfriend,” Isa informed him, flipping her black braid over her shoulder in a purely feminine manner. “You’re just a baby.”
Aidan’s lower lip protruded further than I had thought was humanely possible. “I’m not a baby,” he protested, blinking furiously. “I’m three years old.”
“I’m five.” In Isa’s mind, there was no comparison. “We just wouldn’t work.” And with that, Isa turned her back on her young admirer to concentrate on her coloring page.
Aidan’s face was a mask of pain as he watched her. My heart went out to him as he abruptly stood up on his chair, climbed carefully to the floor, and walked stiffly out of the room,
I tapped my co-teacher on the shoulder. “I’ll be right back.”
She nodded absently, her mind focused on the many mini-emergencies that characterize life in a Sunday school preschool/kindergarten classroom. I headed out to deal with the latest emergency.
Aidan stood outside the door, his small hands fisted at his side. I touched his shoulder.
“You okay, buddy?”
He turned to look at me. “I’m not a baby!” he said fiercely.
“Of course not,” I said, shocked. “Babies don’t go to school.”
“Isa said I was!”
“Well, Isa was wrong,” I said firmly.
“But she still won’t marry me!”
“Maybe Isa doesn’t want to get married,” I said gently. “But that’s okay. She gets to decide for herself.”
“But I want a girlfriend.” He turned his face toward me beseechingly. “Way-chel, will you marry me?”
I did my best not to smile. “Sure Aidan. But let’s wait a few years, huh?”
“Okay,” he said, his cheerful manner restored.
“Can we go back in?” I asked.
He nodded and led the way to class. As he took his seat, I heard his triumphant whisper. “I got a girlfriend!”
Sorry boys. I can’t date you. I’m already promised to an adorable towheaded three-year-old.
New Egypt, New Jersey
Marshall, North Carolina
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