Meet Me Behind the Willow Tree
My Daily Rant 3/16/2011
So I'm cooking dinner tonight when my adorable, funny, yet slightly mischievous 6 year old walks into the kitchen to crack the eggs (it's "breakfast for dinner" night). I can tell she has something on her mind as she's looking a little pensive and is being uncharacteristically quiet.
"Mommy?" she says.
"Today, Gavin asked me if I would meet him behind the willow tree tomorrow."
I think I did a pretty good job of not dumping pancake batter onto the floor.
"What?" I say, certain I misunderstood her. Did I mention she's 6? As in, only 72 months old? That's still practically a baby, right?
"Well, he says he needs to talk to me."
In hindsight, I realize that this was one of those teachable moments; a time when I should choose my words carefully and weigh their impact before unloading them on my innocent spawn. Yet, me being me, I blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.
"Let me tell ya something. When a boy wants you to meet him behind anything, nothing good will ever come of it."
She looks a little startled (which is surprising, because, after having lived with me for 72 months, she's pretty easy to shock).
"Well, he says he just needs to talk to me about something" she says again.
"You tell him that if he has anything to say to you, he can say it on the playground in front of everyone else." I offer this sage advice with authority as I try to choke down the bile that is rising in my throat.
Then I realize something. She could very easily have never told me about this and I would have been none the wiser. Could it be that something her dad and I have instilled in her took hold? Is it possible that sometimes, the rantings we spew at our offspring sink in....even just a little? So I ask her, "What does your heart tell you?" I realize she told me about this because she obviously didn't feel 100% comfortable with this proposition.
"That it's probably not a good idea." She stated simply. I give her a big hug, tell her she's right and we move on to cracking eggs. I don't want to make a huge deal out of this and shove her curiously into the hornet's nest.
Later that evening, as I sit at the dinner table talking to my daughters about their day, I tell my 12 year old about the little boy's request. My pre-teen boy crazy and insanely beautiful daughter's eyes get as big as saucers as she looks at her little sister and says, "The willow tree? The kissing willow tree?" As I sit there slowly experiencing cardiac arrythmia while digesting bacon (something which I assure you is wholeheartedly unpleasant), the little one nods her head as if this is no big deal.
"The WHAT?" I say. Ok, maybe I shout. Just a little.
"Mom, it's where all the little kids go to kiss" my oldest informs me.
"Oh dear god, are you frickin kidding me? They're 6!" I exclaim.
After my atrial episode subsides, I say, "Well, I told Macie it was a bad idea and that anything he has to tell her can be said on the playground, out in the open, right Macie?" She nods her head in emphatic agreement.
Then she says, "Well, I think he just wanted to have a play date. Can we give him your number so his mom can call you and set it up?" This makes the bile begin to rise again, but Macie has a bit of trouble making friends, unlike her social butterfly sibling, so I say, "Well, we can certainly discuss it with her." Wasn't that parentlike and mature of me?
My oldest says, "What the heck are you guys gonna do on a playdate? You do realize he's not gonna wanna play barbies, right?"
It was at this time that the stroke began as Macie says, "Well maybe we'll just play Twister then."
All I could think as I sat there in stunned silence was thank God my husband isn't home right now. It'd be a cryin shame to make these girls orphans when we both die of a stroke.
I was so prepared for this with the older one. Like I said, she is boy crazy, and did I mention very pretty? Plus, she likes to shoot and she likes jeeps and pickups, and knows how to drive a tractor, which she probably doesn't realize now will escalate her on the "cool hot chick" scale later in life. She just had her first boy/girl party last week, and so far, has impressed me exponentially with her judgement, strong sense of self and willingness to stand up for herself and her friends, even to a boy who makes her weak in the knees. But the little one? She's a wild card. She's not even all that interested in boys, in fact, I'm most certain she could kick the arse of any boy in her class. But she's unpredictable. And did I mention she's only 72 months old? Oh I am so not ready for this.
Wine goes well with heart attacks, right?