It’s been coming for awhile. I can recall the first steps down this road. They came after Cheyenne started school. At first is was just babies and toddlers that I was drawn to, but over time it just became children of various ages. Now you might as well plop me on a park bench with a handful of balloons and a basket of lollipops. Yes, it’s that bad.
The moment of realization was cemented this evening while I was outside watering my flowers. A cute little girl on her pink and purple glammed up bike with her little purple helmet stopped on the sidewalk and said, “Hi!” I said hello back and then I asked her if she was having a super Sunday. She said yes, and told me that tomorrow was meatless Monday. The only thing I could think of when I heard that was that perhaps it was a Catholic thing (although in my day it was Fridays), so I asked her, “Are you Catholic?” And she said, “No, I’m Jaden.”
I must confess, that comment made me smile ear to ear. Jaden stayed and chatted and then went next door and pet my favorite furry neighbor, Toby (the golden retriever). During our visit I learned that meatless Mondays are her mom’s effort to have the family eat healthier, she has a little brother at home that just turned 2, and she is 4 years old. I was shocked to learn Jaden is only 4 - she is so articulate, poised, and social. She tells me her 5th birthday is coming at the end of June – the 23rd or 24th – she isn’t exactly sure which day. I told her I would get her a gift for her birthday. She said, “I hope it’s special.” I told her it would be.
Jaden continued her bike ride around the cul-de-sac. She would stop and chat a bit more on each rotation. On her final visit of the evening she said, “I think I should know your name since you already know mine.” I told her my name and she smiled and I smiled and off she went to visit with Toby again.
There’s clearly a new social butterfly in town…I am delighted that she has settled into our little neighborhood. It made me happy to spend time chatting with her and it keeps me off the park bench.
Yes, I have reached that age, and although I am a bit pained at the image it conjures up in my mind of a kindly, matronly woman (which is completely incongruent with how I see myself), I am happy that such joy resides in interactions with children.
I told Cheyenne about my visit with Jaden today and all the cute things she said. Cheyenne looked at me like I was losing it. She said, “Mom! You can’t just give little kids presents! Stranger danger! Hello!” She then rolled her eyes and walked off as if fixing me was an impossible feat that wasn’t even worthy of another breath.
Note, that I said I love talking to children…not teenagers. My guess is that it is going to be at least another decade before I get old enough to get joy out of talking to teens.
Day one thousand and forty-nine of the new forty – obla di obla da