The discovery of the first love letter to Jake happened after 15 eleven and twelve year old boys showed up at the cabin after a full day of play. I found out about it from one of the girls on the school retreat. I alerted Jake to it in the Gaga Pit. He instantly asked “What should I do?” My recommendation – Play it cool, don’t be disrespectful.
When I walked into the cabin the other boys were in a squealing frenzy. “Eddie, the girls left love notes all around the room, Jake and R got the most notes. What should we do?” I looked at the notes. Here is the summary of some of the anonymous sweet nothings:
- H___ you are so cute. I want to marry you
- E___ you are shy but I think you are the best boy ever
- T___ why don’t you talk me, I love you
I asked them what they thought they should do. The youngest of the boys shouted, “let’s tell them that we hate them!!!” Really? Why would you do that? “I don’t know.” I took advantage of this teachable moment.
Jake still had not appeared from the Gaga pit. The boys got busy writing notes. Channeling Cyrano de Bergerac I steered them through the process. I gathered up the notes and marched across the yard to the Girl’s cabin. Fifteen boys’ faces were pressed up against the cabin windows. The girl who tipped me off about the existence of the notes appeared at the door. She opened the first note from the boys. Her mouth dropped open. Other girls gathered. The notes were sweet and unexpected:
- B___ I think you are the most beautiful girl ever
- A___ I would be so lucky if I had the chance to marry you
- Y___ if you mean what you say in this letter I want you to know I feel the same way
Now, the girls cabin is filled with the collective wail of screaming girls. About this moment Jake and R. walk up from the Pit. Jake looks at me as he enters the cabin. Four or five notes are taped haphazardly to the open locker next to his bed. He reads each of them. The girls now have appeared, in mass, at the open door to the boy’s cabin. Jake steps out. “I don’t know who sent these, there aren’t any names on them… if you see them, tell them thank you.” Jake then smiled and walked through the wall of girls to go back to playing Gaga. The girls were speechless.
Later Jake asked me “Dad, did I do the right thing? I was so nervous.” Dude – you not only did the right thing you did it your way, with heart, soul and class. “You think so?”
I wish I could’ve been this thoughtful when I was twelve. This is what happens when you have a young man who loves his mother and sister with every fiber of his being. Jake already knows how to treat women well.