By TOM BURNS
Before I became a dad, I did, what I felt, was a lot of prep work. I talked with every mom and dad we knew, I read parenting books, I lurked on parenting websites to get tips on everything from diaper rash to night terrors. I’m the type of guy who relishes doing research, so, while I knew being a parent could be unpredictable, I figured that I could mitigate some of those surprises if I did my homework. It was a hit-or-miss strategy. While, yes, I did pick up some great advice from some really smart people, there have been variables, there have been unpredictable moments in my parenting career that I never, EVER could’ve anticipated. For example, what do you do when your daughter comes home with a love letter for you written by one of her substitute teachers? Wait, check that. I meant, “allegedly written by one of her substitute teachers, but really, really obviously written by my daughter and some of her second grade friends.”
Last week, I picked my kid up from school and, as nonchalantly as she could, she told me, “Hey, we had a substitute today and she wrote you a letter in my notebook. It’s in my backpack.” That sounded weird, but not immediately suspicious, so I told her I’d read it when we got home. When we finally got there, I pulled her notebook out of her backpack and the letter accompanying this post is what I found (the pink lips might’ve been my first clue that something was up):
For those of you needing a translation, here you go:
My name is Abby. I’m 35 years old. I’m also a super model. And my favorite color is green.
I like guys that are smart. I also like guys that are daddy blogers.
I saw your profile on Facebook. I think your yummy!
PS. Lets go on a date.
PPS. I’m going to kiss you to Death!
Lots of Love,
This is what you get —> LIPS!
Let me say this upfront, after I read the letter, I laughed so hard I almost choked. It’s hysterical. The idea that my daughter and her friends decided to spend their inside-recess period creating a fictional substitute teacher—their real sub was not named Abby and was, apparently, over fifty years old—kills me. It’s ridiculous. I love that Abby tried to hit on me by saying she loved “smart” guys and also guys who were “daddy blogers” (sic), which is a really specific turn-on that not even my wife shares. I love the sheer aggressiveness of “this is what you get….LIPS!” and the pseudo-threat of being kissed to death. It’s such a weird, random, deliriously funny kid-thing to create with your friends. And I know that a team of girls created it because a mom who was visiting the classroom that day told me so and this isn’t even my daughter’s handwriting. Hys-terical.
I will admit—there are some small details in the letter that set off my parenting Spidey-senses. The idea of seven year olds knowing that “I saw your profile on Facebook” is a way to look for romantic partners bothers me a little. So does using the word “yummy” to describe someone you’re interested in. But I KNOW this is an innocent creation. I know these girls. I know their weird senses of humor. I should be flattered to be a target of this hoax.
If anything, this note just gives me an odd little peek into how second-grade girls might be viewing romance at the moment. Is this what they think a love note looks like? Is this their idea of flirting? Was this supposed to be a really, really obvious joke or did they at all actually think, “Oh yeah, this is how an older woman talks to an older man”? Like I said, I know it’s innocent, but, at the very least, this little prank—this old-school attempt to “catfish” her old man—reminds me that my daughter is getting older every day and, in the near future, as her dad, I may have to worry about things like Facebook and yummy boys and the impulses that might drive a person to kiss another to death. But, for now, I’m just going to enjoy this note. It is so funny and so earnest and so weird. I’m going to save it forever and can’t wait to bring it out of my memory book the first time my daughter brings home a smart, green-loving dad bloger to meet her old man.
Tom Burns is a husband, a dad, and a veteran of the educational publishing industry, living just outside of Detroit Rock City. He’s also been a writer and contributing editor for a number of web sites, including 8BitDad, and founded BuildingaLibrary.com – a website devoted to helping parents find the right books for their kids. You can find him on Twitter at @buildalibrary.
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Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.