At some point I have to accept that Addie will one day grow out of her all knees and elbows phase and into a young woman. Even writing that sentence sends shivers down my spine. That little girl who I held in my arms only moments after she was born is supposed to stay my little girl forever. She’s supposed to stay innocent and inquisitive and full of spark and excitement. Her interest in boys isn’t supposed to outgrow her interest in Rainbow Bright and My Little Ponies, but little by little that little girl who once named a rainbow colored pony, Sparkley Sha Lala Summa Yumma Yeha Pony, is growing up into that young woman and I dread that change.
The changes she has been going through have been subtle and surprising. It seems like her change has happened too quickly and too early in life. I don’t remember when I first had a real interest in girls, but it couldn’t have been at 9 years-old — could it have been? The first girl I ever asked to be my girlfriend was in the first grade and her name was Angela. A few of my other friends in my first grade class had picked up girlfriends so I figured I had to as well. So, I randomly picked a girl who was unclaimed and I wrote a little note asking her if she would be my girlfriend, and I used the note as wrapping paper and wrapped up an old bouncy ball I had found lying in the school grounds. She said no.
The second girl I had an interest in was in the third grade, which is the same grade Addie is in now. Her name was Mindy and I never said a word to her, but we both knew we liked each other. Our crush on each other happened just before Christmas break before I had a chance to say anything to her and when Christmas break was over, she was gone. Her family had moved off to somewhere else and I never heard of her or saw her again.
Addie is at that stage where she is starting to develop an interest in boys. She technically has a boyfriend and they have broken up and gotten back together at least a dozen times. In her eyes it has gotten complicated — so complicated that she requested she be allowed to call my sister in Florida so she could get some boyfriend advice from her. Addie seems smitten by the kid. So smitten that when he shows up at her gymnastics Addie forgets why she’s at gymnastics practice and what she’s supposed to be doing. Instead, the kids stands there with her gymnastics friend and cracks jokes as she tries to flirt with her boyfriend — all of which drives me nuts. The fact that Addie likes this kid at all drives Casey nuts, and I think it’s because Casey sees some herself in Addie’s decision making process.
These relationships shouldn’t need advice. They shouldn’t be complicated. And most of all, they shouldn’t be real. Addie is my little girl and in my eyes she will always be that little innocent girl who once thought she was the real Shirley Temple reincarnate.
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