Like most girls, I'm a romantic. The sight of an elderly couple holding hands melts my heart and sends flip-book images of their decades-long love shooting through my mind. How precious! I'm also a big sucker for those black and white photo cards of two young children in old fashion dress up clothes with a rose and their budding puppy love. So pure! So innocent! How could anyone not get misty eyed?
Buuuut who has the time to dwell on it?
On a beautiful clear autumn day, Holy Cow It's Almost Winter/We Must Play Outside as Much as We Can Mom threw Sunshine and Baldilocks into the car and raced to the tennis courts. This was my best idea yet: a fenced in area, three brightly colored balls, and two tennis rackets. We hit the balls, threw the rackets and balls, and ran, and ran, and ran! For 45 laugh filled minutes, we soaked up as much vitamin D as we could. Then, Throw Caution to the Wind Mom decided to do a cartwheel and ended the entire session.
Limping towards the car, Cool Mom gave the go ahead for a little romp on the playground. It didn't take long for Desperately Needs Adult Conversation Mom to find another DNAC daycare provider. She had brought several well dressed and nicely mannered children for an outing, and all the chitterlings meshed together in a quaint, fluffy-headed flock.
Our chat flowed smoothly with only small interruptions of "Don't point sticks at faces" and "Don't chop kids you don't know." I easily ignored Sunshine's not so traditional greeting of one youngster, "Hey, what are you doing boy?" What a lovely, lovely fall day. My ligaments were slowly shrinking back and mending as the breeze tossed the hair poking out from under my cap.
Soon, my beautiful little Sunshine came waltzing up to us, hand-in-hand with a much older four year old. "This is my girlfriend," explained the boy to his daycare lady. "Isn't that nice, Charlie?"
Immediately, Pinpoint Pupil/Puckered Butt/Shrill Mom popped up, but It's Really No Big Deal Mom slapped a forced smile on my face. "Ahha ha ha ha! Isn't that cute! Ahha ha ha ha , SUNSHINE, THREE MINUTES UNTIL WE GO! Ahha ha ha ha!"
PP/PB/S Mom and IRNBD Mom started fighting it out in my head. "Why does he know what a girlfriend is? Does he wash his hands after using the potty? Is he even potty trained?" "Psha, the lady said his parents are doctors, and he looks so clean and cute! So they like each other, it's sweet!" "Doctors schmoctors! He spends all day with that crazy old lady prancing around the park with who knows what kind of people!"
Eventually, the three minute eternity ran down, and everyone left the park. The little star-crossed lovers wouldn't say goodbye to each other; they just looked down at the ground.
I was the worst mother ever.
I'm not sure what it was that brought out PP/PB/S Mom. Seeing Sunshine socialize and try new things has always thrilled me, but suddenly seeing her hand in hand with someone else sent the sands of time shooting through the glass. I could clearly see her driving a car with other young adults that I don't know. Would she do the right thing? Would she make safe decisions?
"Snap out of it." I told myself I as turned the key in the ignition. "You'll do better next time." I quickly made amends by blaring Woody Guthrie's "Car Song" on repeat all the way home. After a snack and a nap, I let her play in the dirt until it was almost dark. It's not so bad I guess. She still has 13 years until she learns to drive.