My four year old cousin Jack has entered into the world of “chase” at his preschool. He has discovered tiny feelings towards girls that resemble love, and when you are in preschool, you display these feelings by chasing the opposite sex around the playground. My little brother Jack has had a “girlfriend” for the last few years, and has already figured out that when they get married, she will have to change her name to “Kate Weight,” which will rhyme, and be funny.

I teach junior high, and “liking” someone involves a complicated dance of note passing, texting, eye contact, ignoring, butterflies in stomachs, and whispers. This is also a great age for hugging. My kids are REALLY into hugs. Its a great way to get physical contact with someone you like without violating my school’s strict “No PDA” rule. (Gotta love private Christian schools.) They hug each other as they leave each class, when they part at lunch, when they leave for the day…and I’m “that” teacher going “You’re going to SEE eachother toMORROW stop hugging each other and MOVE towards the CLASS lets GO!”

But I have sympathy, because I totally remember that age. Hugging felt fantastic, even when the straps of your Jansport got in the way. And you never really made eye contact, and it was always weird when you would hug a boy that didn’t hug very strongly back…kind of a light hug…and you’re both wondering when the hug is over.

I’m now almost 27 years old….and “liking” someone seems to involve the same silly games we played in junior high and high school, but with facebook, its so much more easy to stalk someone and make flattering or harmful assumptions. My friends and I talk about the various  men we have crushes on, and so many of our inferences about their personalities and hobbies come from intense facebook and google investigations.  Conversations are like “did you see the pictures he uploaded of his trip to Vegas/Mexico/mission trip? He’s so ________________!!!” “I KNOW and did you see the pic of him playing guitar? He could sing songs to you! That would be so cute!” or “When I first saw that picture of him with that girl, I was like ‘who is THAT?’ but then I realized it was his sister and now I think its cuuuute!!!”

Its more complicated than the days of chase and cooties. I don’t miss those days but…sometimes I miss those days.