My 11-year old daughter waits like a sighing lover by the front door. She has invited her new friend for a playdate. But the girl is late. Well, we don’t know if she’s late because she said on our message machine that she’d arrive after lunch but it is now 2 pm and as far as we’re concerned it’s after lunch. But maybe it isn’t. My daughter is worried that her new friend might not come around again like yesterday when there was a bit of miscommunication and she waited all afternoon and the girl never showed up.
It is a delicate moment. My daughter is in the thralls of a new love. So she avoids making dates with her many other friends who call her and then finds herself at loose ends, waiting for her new friend to respond.
She slinks up the stairs and hovers by my office door.
“I don’t want to call again,” she says.
“Just call and tell her you got her message and ask what time she was thinking.”
“But I don’t want to be seen as…pushy.”
“You’re not pushy.”
“I’m not calling,” she says resolutely.
I look at the clock. I don’t want to wait another hour with my daughter drooping around the house like a sick dove. I want to get some work done.
“Just tell her you got the message and she can come over whenever and then maybe you’ll get a sense of when she will come over.”
You see, I know exactly what she’s going through. I’ve been here before.
“Fine. But then stop bugging me.”
“Ok.” She huffs out. But is back within five minutes.
“Do you think I should call?”
“I don’t know…”
“Look, just tell her I need to know what time she’s coming over. Because I have a life I’d like to get back to!”
I hear her voice on the phone in the kitchen. She then reappears to report. She is beaming. The clouds have passed.
“She’s coming in five minutes.”
When the girl finally arrives, they stand in the hallway, so busy giggling and talking, so completely on each others wavelength, that they forget to move into the living room. I hand my daughter a box of biscuits to sweeten the deal and leave them to it.
I then sit upstairs in my office and write, remembering my first loves as well.
photo by Eric in SF (flickr)