When I was around 9 years old, I learned that a young man’s affection is a curious thing. A boy in my fourth-grade class crushed one of these seed pods and dropped it down the back of my shirt. It was horribly prickly and my skin turned fiery red and itched like mad. My mom came to school to pick me up and explained gently that sometimes boys don’t know how to express themselves in a nice way, even when they feel nice things. She explained that the boy probably had a crush on me. It didn’t make sense until I hit puberty and could never figure out how to say the right thing to boys.
My mother is a nice person and always looks at situations in the most compassionate ways. She likes children and teenagers and has always urged me to put myself in someone else’s shoes. I hope I can be so gentle and such a good friend to my child as my mother is to me.