I was sitting in the middle of my bed with my daughter folding the 30th load of laundry when Jackson walks in. He plops down in between us, looks at the ceiling, and announces, “I accidentally told a girl she’s pretty today.” Paige and I look at each other, our faces a mixture of amusement and dismay. The first thing I could think of was, “Wait…You actually SPOKE to a girl?!” “Yeah, but it was a total accident. It happened before I even knew what I was doing.”
I guess I should back up, and give you a little background. Jackson is 16, and terrified of speaking to women unless they are gray headed grandmothers. And sometimes that is even a little scary for him. During his freshman year in high school he loved a girl from afar for an entire year. “Tell her Jackson. Just tell her.” Oh he told her! 3 weeks before we were moving to another state he declared his love for her. Way to be a risk taker Buddy! It turns out the girl had liked him all year, but never said anything for fear he didn’t feel the same. So as we loaded up the moving truck, with big fat love sick puppy tears threatening to spill over, we all believed that he had learned his lesson, and he would begin to voice his feelings to the lovely ladies around him. WRONG!
We moved, and Jackson hibernated in his room. The world spun around, but Jackson stayed still. Then one day a very assertive girl told Jackson she liked him, and he was going to take her on a date. Wait….what? When did girls start doing that?! I would have died a very dramatic death by embarrassment before I ever did that! And my mama would have told me that wasn’t very ladylike, and to hush! But it was great for my shy boy. I think he was secretly a little afraid of the spunky minx! He complied, and they ended up dating a few months. If we are completely honest, he wasn’t really required to do much talking, as she did enough for both of them. Then one Saturday he declared it was over, and the world went quiet again. Rumors swirled that he liked another. I was brave, and I asked him who the girl was. I mean…I DO work at the school. I wanted to be a little nosy. I spotted her, and I approved. Again we all nudged him to speak to her. Months passed…does anyone else hear the crickets chirping, because I swear that’s all we heard! Then one day I see him smiling into his phone screen. I believe the native have crawled out from under his rock! Do I dare move closer or say anything, or will I scare him back under the rock? Awe screw it! I’ve never been one to be quiet! “Jackson, what are you doing?” Cue the deep sigh, and rolling of the eyes. “I’m snapchatting Mom.” “Yes, I know. But who?” It indeed WAS a girl!
So this went on for months. He finally got the courage to ask her on a date. He wasn’t driving yet, so I dropped him off and picked him up. I was lucky enough to be early, so I was able to spy from across the street. I slumped down low in my seat as they walked past, then popped up as they entered the ice cream place. Paige is frantically texting him, “Don’t forget to pay! And pull out her chair!” We laugh as he turns to look from side to side, undoubtedly wondering where we are and how we know his every move. He tells her he knows the drill, and to leave him alone. We watch with baited breath. Will he speak or just stare at her? We use our jedi mind tricks, willing him to speak. Say SOMETHING! Later as he climbs into the car he says, “I had fun. But I’m not sure she knows it was a date. Heck, I’m not even sure it was a date.” What?! How can you not know that?!
The next day we get a text…”It was a date! Her friend just told me she heard about our date! That must mean it was a date!” “Great! Ask her out again!” Well he did….MONTHS later. You know, once she’d had time to move on and get a boyfriend. Roll my eyes. “It’s ok Buddy. Live and learn.” Then came the next girl….
I knew this girl. I LOVE this girl. I was giddy that she was who he had chosen. So happy that I tried to orchestrate every opportunity for them to bump into each other. Chance number one….Jackson is sitting in my room after school, and I see the doll walking down the hall. I call her in to ask about her day. Jackson looks at his phone the ENTIRE TIME! He doesn’t even look up or speak. I ask him about it when she leaves. “Mom, she walks into the room, and I can’t seem to speak. She terrifies me.” Maybe in time he will become more comfortable? Chance number two….I notice the girl is still hanging around well after the final bell. She tells me she is killing time until the evening basketball game. I invite her to join us at Panera Bread for an afternoon snack. She agrees, and off we go. Jackson didn’t speak more than 10 words. I give up!
Summer comes and goes….Jack is still hung up on the girl, and now they work together! Another month goes by….He finally gets up the courage to ask her out. She’s seeing someone. His timing is HORRIBLE! So this brings us to “I accidentally told a girl she’s pretty.” We were all shocked that he had spoken. He informed us that it wasn’t on purpose. “We were talking about jobs, and I told her she should wait tables because she would get lots of tips since she’s pretty. Once it was out of my mouth I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t take it back, but I couldn’t think of anything else to say either!”
Well I wish I could tell you that he asked the girl out, that they got along swimmingly, and now he is bankrupting me as I help pay for dates. But that isn’t the case. He still stares at his feet, forgets to speak, or breaks into a hot pink blush when a beautiful girl walks into the room. I can’t wait for the day when he says, “Hey Mom, I told a girl she was pretty on purpose.” Until then we will hope for happy accidents, girls bold enough to pull him out of his shell, and for shy smiles that make you just want to walk right up and tell him hi.