So, I should probably explain that last photo.
It seems the our child has moved on from his first love. And, that’s all I can say about that because while the kid doesn’t read my blog now… it’s only a matter of time. I’m kinda hoping that he will look at the dates of some these posts and forgive me for being nostalgic.
But I can talk about Chloe. Because he’s moved on and and she’s now fair game. I have to admit, I knew he would move on; because who pines after their first-grade love forever? I just didn’t expect it would be so hard for ME to move on. I think I’ve been holding onto this image of my child and Chloe as a way of hanging onto that age. It’s as if, as long as he carried a torch for Chloe, he really wasn’t growing up. And it doesn’t hurt that this darling pixie of a girl is HUNDREDS of miles away.
But not any more. He can laugh and talk about her, reminisce in a way that says she’s a memory, not a flame. And while that might seem ridiculous when you realize I’m talking about a 10 year old… you never saw these two together. And while you and I know that real love has a very different flavor, I’m not about to discount how these two felt about each other– it’s poor form, in my opinion, to label it “puppy love” and be condescending.
Instead, I’ve made a habit, we’ve made a habit of talking to this boy where he is at. I hope taking him seriously means he will continue to talk to us. I know at least, he’s learning at a very young age how to be considerate. And from what he’s been telling me, that hasn’t changed.
But, he may be ready to let our Chloe go, I’m not sure that I ever will be. Evidently, I’m the one carrying a torch.
I first saw Chloe on the first all day field trip at summer school when Boy Wonder was 6. She was 9. They got off the bus holding hands. My jaw dropped, as did IZ’s. Who was this little thing holding hands with our son? The two of them stood in front of a chain-link fence, talking earnestly to one another. Deep in conversation, I watched as my child nodded his head and kicked at the fence, never letting go of her hand. It took about a nano-second for the realization to set in that my child LIKED this girl. It was confirmed when both IZ and I attempted to get his attention over the din of a multitude of children getting off the bus. The more we called his name, the further away he seemed to drift. Caught up in a tide we would later learn had a name: Chloe.
I first met Chloe a few days later when I picked up the boy from Summer Camp. He went half day, she was there all day. I was gathering up all his belongings when she ran up and got my attention, “Excuse me. Are you his mother?”
“Yes, and you must be Chloe.”
“I am. And you need to remember to pack him dry underthings on swimming days! He doesn’t like to wear wet clothes under his shorts, it makes him very uncomfortable. So, if you could pack him something next time, that would be a very good thing.”
I kid you not, this child politely reamed me out for forgetting to pack my child underwear. And then she ran back to the playground to tell my son his mother was there to pick him up.
The thing is, Chloe ran the playgound. And I don’t think she gave it a second thought about running Georges’ life either. They shared a love of talking and were on the same “spacey, in my own world” wavelength. He had a very French name, she was French… and our child has often said that looking into Chloe’s face was like looking in a mirror. They were just two peas in a pod. And they were such a force to be reckoned with that the staff of Summer camp quickly learned that they needed adult supervision at ALL TIMES. Not because they were smooching under the jungle gym… but because they were both so persuasive and magnetic that they tended to run amok over all the kids around them.
They spent the next two years as good friends. Because of their age difference, all the adults in their lives kept very close eyes on them. During the summers they were inseparable. During the school year, our boy learned a very hard lesson. Girls who think you’re great in the summer, sometimes ignore you in front of their friends at school. Oh, the grief that wrought. But it was good to know, good to feel. Good to learn how not to do it.
They struck a bargain to be friends out of school… and to find each other when the school bell rang to say goodbye. It wasn’t negotiated with words as much as by necessity. He understood that she was the popular girl in her class and being friends with a little kid did nothing for her street cred. She understood that as well—and yet, couldn’t help but seek him out to say good-bye. Especially on Fridays. For a long time it was, “Have you seen Chloe, Mom?” Until it became Chloe finding me to ask, “Where’s Georges?”
We moved at the end of second grade. Our child was philosophical about it, “You now, Mom, she wouldn’t have been at my school next year. She’s going to 6th grade. She would have forgotten me anyhow.” But I can’t help but wonder if that’s true.
The photo of the two of them together, was taken that first summer. On the last day of school, Boy Wonder slipped a framed copy of it into her desk. A copy of it sits on my desk to this day.