Due to the wacky winter weather, we have been spending a lot of time outdoors lately. It's good for the kids, and it's good for the grown-ups to get some fresh air and move.
Trevor and I took Lottie and Dallas to the park yesterday to play. At first, we were the only ones there, but soon a boy and his dad showed up at the skate park adjacent to the playground. The boy skated for a while, then yelled to me, "Excuse me, can I play with you guys?" He happily played with Lottie for a while, chasing and laughing like only little kids can do. Soon, Lottie walked over to me with her head down. When I asked what was wrong, she said her new friend, Georgie, had decided to go play with his friend. She said, "I guess he would rather play with his friend than me." I explained to her that Georgie had probably planned to meet his friend, who also had a board, to skate at the park, and it would be rude to ignore him. She seemed to understand and played with Dallas for a few minutes.
Her gaze kept straying to the skate park that had filled up with quite a few tween boys. Eventually, she shyly asked if we could go watch them. We sat on the bench in front of the skaters and watched them do ollies and drop-ins and whatever else skater boys do. Georgie skated past us, smiled and waved to Lottie, then did some sort of trick. Lottie gazed up at me with stars in her eyes and said, "Oh, Mommy. He's the best one!"
I felt my stomach drop. No, no, no. She isn't supposed to be having crushes yet! She's only five years old, for Pete's sake! This isn't supposed to happen for ten years or so! But there she sat, smiling and blushing, watching Georgie and his friends. We stayed for twenty minutes or so, and I told her it was time to leave. She heaved a big sigh and stared at Georgie with her big, blue eyes shining like the sun. I said she could go up to the fence to say goodbye to him, and she bashfully waved. As we walked away, she turned and yelled, "You can come over to my house tomorrow!" I'm sure he didn't hear her, but she skipped away happily.
It's hard to describe the emotions I felt as I watched her. She's growing up, but she's still just a little girl - MY little girl. Georgie was sweet to her, even with his friends around, but some day, some boy won't be sweet and he'll break her heart. And in that moment when she's crying to me and I'm trying to soothe her, I'll remember when she was five and it was all pretty simple.