Friday, April 6


I am 41 years old, and after this afternoon, I am of the belief that I have never actually been in love.

Today we took Van (7) and Teagan (3) to McDonalds. Not the restaurant one typically associates with romance, but this afternoon, love blossomed there. In the play structure of all places. Actually it was prior to that. It was what the French refer to as the lightning bolt: love at first sight.

When we arrived, even before we ordered, Van saw through the window into the play room a little strawberry-blond girl. (Hello, Charlie Brown and the little red-headed girl!) And, walla! The lightning bolt!

We ate at the table next to her (and her mom and younger brother). Van leaned over to Gramma and whispered, "I like her!" He ate as quickly as possible so that when she was finished eating, so was he. And they both bounded over to the play structure together. They spent the next 30-40 minutes gleefully playing together.

(Teagan decide the place structure was scary and instead spent her time running to and fro between the tables with babies, saying hello, asking to "pet" them, and coming back to us to tell us how cute they were.)

Van and the strawberry-blonde, and her brother Jack, ran and played. But soon it was time for them leave. This coincided with Teagan and I going up to order coffee (for Auntie M who was dying for some) and cookies for the kids. Van whistfully watched them leave, wanting to leave at the same time, but agreeing to stay to eat a cookie.

When we returned to our house, Van was very emotional. Crying easily (like at the drop of a hat), like when Teagan told him he wasn't playing Monkeys the right way or at many other little incidents that ordinarily he would have brushed off. Initially, I thought he was tired and that he was probably bored with playing with a 3 year old, as he has spent the week at Teagan's since he is on Spring Break from school.

I then asked him if he would like to go play upstairs and if he would like me to come. When we entered the play room, he sat on a stool and began to tell me his troubles.

You see: he really, really liked that girl from McDonalds...and now *big sigh & tears welling up* he was never going to see her again! He didn't even know her name or where she went to school! He didn't know where she lived! (Tears overflow.) He knows her brother's name is Jack. He knows she is 6. He knows that she has an older brother the same age as his older brother....

If only I (Auntie M) hadn't needed coffee, we could have left at the same time and followed them home, so we could know where she lived and asked her her name! (Hello, little stalker in the making!) And this is why he is so sad. Because he has a friend he can never find again.

I kept a straight face and said that, yes, this was very sad. I did point out that this is why it's important to ask people their names (he used to be very good at doing this). And I said that it would be better in the future to ask a friend for her name and where she goes to school and that following them home perhaps isn't the best way to get to know to know people.

But then I went on to explain that while this was indeed very sad, this is something happens often in life: he will see as he gets older that he will meet people and either know them for a short time or a long time and then perhaps lose touch. Sometimes we never see them again...sometimes we will find them again in the most surprising places. And I told him of a childhood friend that moved away when I was 8 and I met again in a different country when we were both going to school there when we were 19 years old~11 years later! And the other dear friend I'd had and how we both moved when we were 10 and then slowly lost touch with eachother. But we found each other 30 years later on Facebook.

This did not help: "But you knew their names!" he wailed. "Why didn't I ask her name?!?"

I tried to comfort him with the idea that she must live somewhere near that McDonalds and that, since we too live near that McDonalds, maybe we would run into each other again. His logic won out again: "But we won't always be there at the same time--it may never happen again!"

So then I told him that he would simply have to savor the good memories he has of her. "What's a memory?" I explained what it was. And then told him that even though my grandmother is dead, and I can't see her anymore, I have many memories of her and because of those memories, she is always close to my heart and how happy that makes me.

His response? "I can't remember anything good..." I interupted him, asking him about the happy memories of sitting up in the play structure laughing and talking or running and laughing together?

Again, "I don't have any good memories in my mind, I only have sad music playing in my head...."

At this point I nearly died laughing~sad music playing his head????? Seriously???? He's SEVEN years old!!!! OMG!!!

Trying to reach him once again, on a 7-year-old level, I suggested reading a wonderful book called Amos and Borris. This is the story of Amos the mouse and Boris the whale: a devoted pair of friends with nothing at all in common, except good hearts and a willingness to help their fellow mammal. They meet after Amos sets out to sail the sea and finds himself in extreme need of rescue. They part ways after Borris rescues Amos thinking they will never meet again. But then there comes a day, long after Boris has gone back to a life at sea and Amos has gone back to life on dry land, when the tiny mouse must find a way to rescue the great whale.

I had only reached the part where they first meet and become friends, when he stopped me and said he couldn't take it, it was too sad, a whale and mouse could never be friends because one lives on land and one lives in the ocean, and with a sigh, he told me he was going back downstairs to Gramma. When I asked him what I should do, he listlessly told me I could stay there or come downstairs, it didn't matter. The kid was seriously lovesick!!!!!

So I followed him downstairs and we told Gramma the real reason he was so meloncholy. He then told her, in a pitiful voice, "We had soooo much in common!" (For instance, they both had older brothers who were 19 years old and neither one of them knew when their brother's birthdays were--you know, important stuff like that!)

He sat on Gramma's lap, morose, while Teagan patted his arm and told him that it would be okay, really it would--but could we puh-lease play monkeys now????

I sat back and silently laughed and then solomnly mused that I don't think I've ever been as love-lorn in my whole life as Van was today.


  1. Ashleigh: Okay so does it make me a bad person that I laughed out loud through this whole post?! It's adorable and funny all wrapped up into one. I see a made-for-TV movie in the making here.
    "Love under the golden arches".

  2. Vivian: That is a very precious story!! You may want to save it so you can give him a printed copy when he is older, and falls "properly in love." What a sweet boy...I hope they meet again!


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