“Ms. Ross! Ms. Ross!” The day-care instructor turned just in time to have her legs assaulted by a tiny, curly-haired ball of energy.
“Blaine!” She laughed. Four-year-old Blaine Anderson would always attack her with hugs the second he walked through the door.
Jenna Ross was new to the day-care center scene. This was her first year but she was absolutely loving it…particularly because of little Blaine. Every day he got there first, right at 3 o’clock, and he was always the last one there. She felt bad for him that his parents couldn’t come and get him until 6 o’clock. But she normally forgot about that fact because she loved having him around. He was perky, excitable, and always helpful. He was kind to the other kids and always helpful to Jenna.
But today, as Blaine was clutching her legs, Jenna noticed a letter poking out of his little coat. “Hey, Blainers, what’s that in your coat?” The little boy pulled back and gave her a confused look before pulling his coat off. As soon as he laid eyes on the note he frowned. “Oh…that…” He pulled the note from the pin holding it in his coat and handed it to Jenna sadly.
The teacher unfolded it and started to read, ‘To whom it may concern,’ Jenna couldn’t help but stop and roll her eyes. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson still had yet to learn her name despite the fact she spent more time with their son than they did.
‘To whom it may concern, Blaine is in trouble. He is not allowed to play. He is just to sit in the corner and think about what he’s done. Regards, Rose Anderson.’
When she finished reading, Jenna couldn’t help but frown. Blaine in trouble? What could he possibly do, say the word ‘please’ once too many? He was the perfect child, Jenna couldn’t fathom him misbehaving.
“Honey, your mommy says you’re in trouble.” Blaine wouldn’t meet Jenna’s eyes. He stared down at his feet, sniffling as tears started to escape his eyes. Jenna knelt down so she was on his eye level. Placing a hand on his shoulder she asked, “What’s wrong, sweetie? What happened?”
Blaine sniffled, breath hitching as he cried. “Mommy and d-daddy are mad at m-me.”
“Why are they mad? Why are you in trouble?”
“B-because I w-wanted to g-give J-Jacob a V-Valentine.”
Jenna froze, “What?” She was expecting ‘I knocked a lamp over’ or ‘I threw a tantrum’ not ‘I wanted to give someone a valentine.’ “Why did you get in trouble for wanting to give someone a Valentine?”
“B-because boys c-can’t give oth-other boys V-valentines. On-only f-faggots d-do, and I’m n-not allowed to be a f-faggot.”
“Blaine!” Jenna couldn’t stop herself from crying out, causing the boy to jump, making her feel guilty. “Blaine, that—that’s a horrible word, Blaine. Never say that word.”
“W-what word?” He asked, looking confused.
Jenna bit her lip and then whispered, “Faggot.”
Blaine’s triangular eyebrows furrowed. “B-but my d-daddy says it all the t-time.”
Jenna bit her lip again, Jesus Christ, what kind of house was Blaine living in? “Sweetie, I’m not saying anything about your dad but please listen to me. That is a horrible word.”
“What does it m-mean?”
“It’s a mean word for boys who like other boys.”
Blaine looked confused again, “But…but I like other boys.”
Fuck, I did not get training for shit like this. Sighing she pulled Blaine over to her desk, sat him down on it and sat in her chair. “Ok, Blaine, I need you to listen to me very carefully ok? What I’m about to say is really important.” Blaine just nodded, running his fist under his nose, and looking into her eyes with rapt attention. “Ok, Blaine, some boys fall in love with boys and some girls fall in love with girls. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You can love a boy or a girl. You can love whoever you want because you can’t control that, ok? Blaine, do you understand?” The little boy just nodded, looking confused by how serious his teacher was being. “No matter what your mommy and daddy say, it doesn’t matter who you love, ok Blaine? If you want to give Jacob a Valentine that’s ok. If you want to give Amy a Valentine, that’s ok. You are who you are, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Do you understand?” Blaine nodded, and Jenna smiled. “Now give me a hug.” Blaine smiled bright at that and threw his arms around her neck.
“Thank you, Ms. Ross.” Blaine said.
“No problem, honey. Now…I know your mommy said you can’t play but…we don’t have to tell her if you do.”
Blaine’s eyes widened with excitement, “Really??”
“Sure, just don’t tell your mommy and daddy, ok?”
“I won’t! Thank you Ms. Ross!” The four year old hopped off her desk and started to make his way to the doll house he loved so much but stopped half way. He spun around and hugged her legs again, “Thank you for being so nice, Ms. Ross.”
“No problem sweetie. And hey, if you want I could help you make some Valentines later.”
Blaine smiled bright once again before running off to the doll house.
Sighing deep Jenna fell back into her desk chair, “God, I hope I just did the right thing…” But, really, she already knew she had.