Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Nathaniel and Elliana

My children are growing up.

1. Nathaniel

Yesterday at recess, my son loitered nonchalantly and alone out on the swings, having been tipped off that Rebekah, one of the nicest, prettiest girls in the fifth grade, was going to ask him to "go out" with her. He had been made aware of her plans the night before, so he had a chance to think through what his response would be. We discussed it at length. This is not the first time a girl has made advances toward him, but it was the first time he felt well-prepared going into it.

He doesn't particularly want to "go out" with anyone right now, but there is a terrible amount of social pressure to do so. He thinks fifth grade is way too young, and that the whole idea of it is fairly stupid and pointless at this age. Hear, hear. But the coolness factor...

Sensing his reticence, I had informed him that, in my humble opinion, finding a gracious way to say no would actually increase girls' interest in him long term. He didn't understand this idea of being hard to get. I explained it in simple terms:

"If you go outside to play in the yard and give Drake (the dog) a treat right away, how long will he stay right by your side?" I asked.

He concluded that the dog would stick around for long enough to get the treat, but would run off again if he found something more interesting.

Exactly my point.

"So what if you let Drake know that you have a treat, but tuck it away in your pocket...then how long will he be interested in you?"

A light bulb went on.

"You don't have to "go out" with anyone yet, if you don't want to," I explained. "It has apparently become obvious to the girls that you are kind and sweet and funny and smart and good-looking, but you are perfectly free to keep that treat in your pocket for as long as you want. Just don't be hurtful in your reply."

He and his dad later had a similar, but more manly discussion that covered basically the same material.

So yesterday before school, I took note of the fact that the boy looked especially stunning and confident. He was wearing his favorite jeans with a white tank top/undershirt (you know what I want to call it) under his favorite plaid button-down shirt, left open, his hemp necklace with the blue glass bead that matches his eyes, and his skater shoes. His hair, cut short now (by his own choice) for baseball season, was done just right and he smelled good--a combination of his own deodorant and a tiny splash of Daddy's cologne. He looked terribly tall and handsome, his smattering of freckles offset perfectly by his broad smile.

I admired him for a moment, making him smile all the bigger, then kissed him and sent him out the door for school. He gave me no clue as to what he was planning to do about Rebekah.

When he returned home, I pulled him aside and asked what happened. I was dying to have been a mouse in the corner.

He had kept the treat in his pocket.

Their conversation out on the swings had gone well. Citing his respect for her as a person and his desire to continue a longer-term friendship with her, and sharing his fears that "going out" would quickly lead to awkwardness and hurt feelings and damaged friendships between the two of them and others, he had politely declined her offer. "Maybe next year," he had suggested. She was surprised, but fine with his response, maybe even a little relieved. They went their own ways on the playground, perhaps even better friends than they were before. The boy was pleased with the result.

So was I. He admitted to me that even next year seemed a little soon, but he hadn't wanted to say that to her.

The mother-son conversation was again followed up with a similar father-son discussion out in the shop, where the presence of sawdust and heavy machinery seem to make it easier for guys to open up. Whatever works.

Andy and I have actually hand-picked an assortment of three girls, any one of whom we would be happy to see him with long-term, and are looking into our options for either an arranged marriage or a pre-arranged "forbidden love" scenario, preferably long distance. The latter may be more effective.

If indeed we opt to go with the forbidden love plan, I'm afraid we will have to cut off the correspondence between our son and your daughter, Ms. AEWH, as she has made the final cut.


2. Elliana

When I entered my daughter's room to wake her up this morning, I had the most overpowering urge to climb under her flowered comforter instead and cuddle up with her warm little body. After a couple of attempts at "Good Morning" with no visible response from her still frame, I told her of my secret wish.

"Go ahead," she mumbled, still not moving.

I spooned in next to her, our bare feet and legs tangling together. I asked her if it would be ok if we stayed there all day, not getting up at all. She said it would. "But wouldn't we get hungry?" I wondered.

"Daddy would feed us," she replied, eyes still closed.

"But wouldn't we get bored, just laying here with nothing to do?"

"No," she offered, without hesitation, "you could read chapters of my book, The Tale of Despereaux, to me." Then her eyes popped open and she turned to look at me in the semi-darkness with a sparkle in her gaze, "I'm already on chapter thirty-three!"

"Really?! Are you enjoying it so far?" She was. We went on to discuss her favorite character, her favorite scenes, etc. I could have listened to her talk about her book for hours--provided Daddy brought us food, of course. I was so enjoying being there with her in that moment--being right there, completely there in her world, our bodies tucked tightly together, our voices low, our eyes locked at close range, discussing a good book. I told her how much I was enjoying that moment. She felt the same.

I had to eventually drag myself out from under her covers and insist that she get up and moving. It wasn't easy for either of us. I enjoy that girl so much. My little Mini-Me.

When she finally marched up the stairs in response to my announcement that the smoothies were ready. I was taken aback by her stature. She is so long and lean. Was she that tall yesterday? Her tan pants swung slightly over the tops of her shoes as she waltzed to the table. I don't remember that shirt being so short in the waist. She slurped down her thick strawberry smoothie, crunched some granola, then pulled on her jacket. Her wrists protruded beyond the ends of the sleeves. Good thing the weather is starting to warm up.

The child is a bean pole.

I suppose I was at that age, too. My little Mini-Me.

My tall girl with the sweet smile and the twinkle in her eyes. My little girl who loves to sing in the shower, help in the kitchen and discuss good books cuddled up in a cozy bed. I love that girl.

Thank-you, Lord, for choosing these kids to be mine, for choosing me to mother these wonderful children.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Savor the moments. Kids grow up much too fast. I should know.
Love you,
Dad

Anonymous said...

I can't help but think that there's a MOMS group in Vancouver that's near and dear to both of our hearts that would have loved to have heard you retell that story. You have wonderful kids, Sherry. They reflect the "wowness" of their parents.
--Laura
PS: Tell Tano Trey says he made the right move.

alison said...

Great post, Sherry.

TODAY I was telling Torey that I wished Tano was closer so that he and Christopher could be actual as opposed to virtual friends. But I guess the distance works for the other half of the equation.

I can't believe how old they are.

Mister Ed T said...

Great stories, greater memories. Keep up the good work Super mom!