The Viral Essay Making the Case for Marrying a First Grader (When You’re in Kindergarten)

Liam is ten months older than me, and that’s on purpose.

When I was four, I knew I was in my prime. Solidly potty trained, only three teeth missing, able to draw both unicorns and school buses (the trick is: they’re the same!), I had to strike while the iron was hot. But not touch the iron. I know not to touch the iron. One of the boys in my class didn’t know that and came in with his hand all red. This made me realize that boys my age have no experience.

When I met Liam, he was a bachelor. (A bachelor is when no one likes you yet.) All the boys in my class are gross, but Liam was in kindergarten and a sophisticated, jaded full-time friend, while I was still pre-K and a half-time friend.

Liam really likes my ponytail. He hits it a lot, so it swings around. I like that he’s tall and gets in trouble when he acts like a puppy and licks another kid in his class. He taught me about Hot Wheels and Capri Sun. He goes to a French immersion Montessori and has taught me all the words to the pwa-san song in The Little Mermaid. Those aren’t the kind of high-end lifestyle lessons that you just aren’t going to get from a four-year-old. For that, you have to go older. FIVE. Like, one, two, three, four, FIVE.

Liam said he was going to marry me, and I said okay. So we’re married now, I think. We don’t live in the same house, which I like, because, as my mommy told my teacher, Miss Molly, I’m still working on sharing, and that that’s developmentally appropriate, and that we are all works in progress, then got in the car and called her a bitch. (A bitch is when my mom doesn’t like you, or if you’re my Aunt Rhonda.)

The tired, haggard Emmas and Mias in first and second grade slave over their worksheets and their popsicle crafts. They think that they can work hard now and life will fall into place. But you have to make success happen for yourself, like how I told Liam that he wanted to marry me. Those other girls think Liam’s cooties were theirs to take or leave—that, as the younger woman, I stole him away. In a way, I have. Why learn to read when Liam can read me a BOB book at a slow and steady pace? Why bother to tie my shoes when Liam’s mommy has a whole song about it?

Some of the girls in Liam’s class have “partners,” which is when you have to hold hands with someone when you cross the street to go to the pickup circle. But I don’t have to, because I’m married. I explained this to Miss Molly, together with the stuff my Aunt Rhonda was saying about how mommies should concentrate on finding daddies who can take them to Paris so they don’t have to freeze their eggs. (Eggs obviously go in the regular fridge. I won’t make that mistake again.)

Miss Molly didn’t say anything. She just looked off in the distance—What she was looking at? There was nothing there!—and her jaw moved kind of weird. Then she said, “It’s rest time,” even though we’d only been in school for five minutes.

I get it. It’s hard to find a man. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to keep one. All I have to do to stay married is to tell Liam that he’s faster than me, even though sometimes he is and sometimes he isn’t, and sometimes to let him win when we do races. I told all this to my mommy and she sighed and said, “Aren’t you quick to catch on?”

And that’s all thanks to Liam. I hope we stay married forever, or at least as long as it takes for his family to finally get that puppy.