Dear Daughter likes to play with the closest neighbor boy who is seven years old. He's the only child remotely near her age that lives anywhere close to us, so she can't be too picky. She refers to him as her "best friend." He seems to love to play with her as much as she loves to play with him.
Our properties border each other, and if he's looking out the windows at the front of his house, he can see us walking down our long driveway to the mailbox. Dear Daughter and I often walk out to get the mail right after Dear Son settles down for his nap. One day last fall, as Daughter and I were walking back towards our house from getting the mail, he must have spotted her from inside his house because he suddenly came running across the expanse of grass towards us calling, "Zoe!" And Daughter, hearing him calling her name and seeing him running towards her began to run across the expanse of grass towards him calling, "Eddie!" I watched as the two ran toward each other calling each other's names. It was like a scene from an over dramatic chick flick where the two lovers run in slow motion across the prairie towards one another, and as the girl runs into the guy's arms he swings her around in circles as the sunlight illuminates the girl's hair and sappy music plays in the background
I watched and waited, partly with simple curiosity at what would happen next, and partly with smug horror, wondering if my daughter and the neighbor boy would embrace when they mete each other in the middle. When they came to face to face, they stopped short and stood awkwardly looking at each other. I finally exhaled with relief as my mind raced forward another decade when the two are teenagers, and that's when I forced myself to stop short in my thoughts.
A few days ago, as I stood pinning clothes to the line, the smell of a warm, gentle summer breeze mingled together with the scents of sunshine and clean laundry. I got lost in the memories stirred by these smells. They were memories of my own childhood, when I would stand at the clothes basket and select item by item one at a time from the basket and hand them to my mother, who stood next to me pinning the clothing on the backyard clothesline.
Dear Daughter was playing several yards away with Eddie and his six year old friend, who is the grandson of our neighbor to the other side. Suddenly, I overheard something that quickly pulled me back from the depths of my memories. Eddie said to his friend, "Hey! I know who I'm going to marry!" He then asked my daughter when her birthday is before saying again that he knew who he was going to marry, and then he boasted to his friend that he intended to marry my daughter. I quickly tried to remember if we owned a solid wood baseball bat or not, and if so whether it was readily available. I wanted to scream loudly that my daughter is only FOUR YEARS OLD and while it's true that her birthday is coming up in several weeks, she will still only be FIVE YEARS OLD. BARELY! And that he needed to put away these foolish thoughts for at least another twenty five years if not FOREVER!
I thought seven year old boys still thought girls were "yucky."
You can bet that I will be watching my daughter, AND the neighbor boy, like a hawk until my girl is at least thirty!