Sunny has a special friend.
Jay is blond with sky-blue eyes and even though I remember how the relationship with my first special friend turned out,* I can’t help but wonder what the grandchildren might look like.**
He goes to her school a few times a week and on those days, she dresses with him in mind. I’ve seen her stalk him around the room, asking him if he likes her outfit or pigtails or shoes over and over and over until he says he does. And she throws, I’m told, a fairly impressive fit if she can’t sit with him at lunch.
And even though Sunny has always said that he likes her back and is her friend, I always thought most of this was one-sided, that he was just being nice—because he is—and suspected that she was bugging the poor kid half to death and he didn’t want to hurt her feelings.
So I’ve been trying, with limited success, to encourage her to wear what she wants to and not worry so much about what Jay might think or who he eats with, not only because women these days have choices and need to know their own minds, but also because, most likely, he doesn’t care much about what she wears and she has lots other other friends to eat with at lunch . . . And I just don’t want her to be too upset if he just isn’t that into her.
I mean, I think Sunny is cuter than the word itself can encompass—think Shirley Temple with Marissa Tomei’s chin and Punky Brewster’s pugnacity—but I’m not a five-year-old boy and cooties are a real concern for that demographic. And unrequited love, at any age, guarantees a rough time.
But we went to a picnic yesterday and Jay’s mother—who is amazingly cool—looked over at Sunny and Jay, who were sitting together at a table eating cake, said, “You know, in some cultures, we’re practically related.”
“Because my daughter is in love with your son?”
She nodded. “And he’s crazy about her. See that blue shirt? I had to wash it last night because it’s Sunny’s favorite color.”
“Oh, yeah. When I pick him up early at school, he worries about who she’s going to eat lunch with. I tell him she has lots of friends, but that sure doesn’t make him feel any better.”
I can’t help but do that little Happy Mommy Sigh that my kid’s special friend thinks she’s special, too.
Though there might also be, I’ll confess, just a touch of Victorious, In Your Face Mommy Grin in there.
See, there was another curly-haired girl in their class who had designs on him and was big enough to literally hip-check Sunny-the-Peanut out of the way. Sunny would sometimes come home and complain that CeCe had asked Jay if he liked her outfit and wouldn’t let him play with Sunny by themselves.
I comforted her and wrote it off as one of those Life Lesson™ things I probably wasn’t supposed to prevent and probably shouldn’t try to heal with cookies or Ben & Jerry’s.
But a week or two ago, I bumped into CeCe’s mother at my favorite coffee shop . She mentioned, with a little smile, that Sunny was seriously crushing on Jay and I mentioned, with the same smile, that her daughter seemed to have fallen for him as well. She shrugged and said, “Well, she did, until she met the new boy across the street. She likes him now, so Sunny can have Jay.”
And though both of us laughed about pre-K soap operas, part of me was like, seriously, lady? Because I could tell that part of her meant it exactly like it sounded and my child does not need her permission to be the special friend of anyone, especially a boy for whom her kid wasn’t quite the competition her mother thought she was.
Which put me just a tad too close to Overly Defensive Jerry Springer Mommy for comfort.
But yesterday, I found out my kid won won’t have to worry, yet, about liking someone who doesn’t like her back.
And Jay’s mother and I had a fun time making provisional plans for prom, arranging one of those still-single-at-thirty-five arranged marriages, and arguing whose genetics would win out should those grandchildren ensue.***
You know, just in case.
*His family moved away, and six year-olds have no say in these things.
**In twenty-three years after they both have stable financial prospects and have been in a committed and presumably legalized relationship for at least three years. I’m a practical romantic, at least when it comes to my kids.
***Green eyes versus blue eyes and short versus tall, mostly, though we agreed that curly hair was good and some kind of musical talent was probably a given.
Image courtesy of Microsoft.