My, it has been a long time. Is it St. Swithin’s day already?
Right, I forgot. I’m old now, and Simpsons references just date me. Younger people than I just gape incredulously when I explain that yes, The Simpsons used to be extremely funny. Point being, we’re all getting older.
This summer saw an amazing milestone for K: she made friends with a girl on our block (note: this is amazing because we don’t go to the local school.) I immediately let her know that she could walk to her friend’s house by herself as long as she let me know when she was leaving home. Thus began the Victoria Day long weekend (third weekend in May, for my non-Canadian readers.)
Since that weekend, I’ve become used to the shouts of “I’m going to K’s house!” (yes, K’s new best friend also has a name that starts with K, which is quite similar to our K’s name. Think along the lines of “Layla and Lyla” and you’re on the right track.) It has become normal to have K’s friend at our dinner table or in our backyard. Their bikes kept each other company on our driveway. Toys, crafts, and even clothes went back and forth.
It was a major parenting milestone for me, too: the first time one of my children could spend all day entertaining herself independently. K would leave the house and return with her friend, then yell, “Eema, we’re going biking in the cul de sac,” and leave again. An hour or so later I’d hear the door and shouts of, “we’re just getting a drink and a snack!” and the slam of the back door as they ran out to the treehouse. It was idyllic and nostalgic and simply wonderful.
Since the summer ended, many people have commented that K has matured so much since last school year. I see it too. What was the catalyst? Was it the close friendship with K? Or the knowledge that she is trusted to navigate a small part of the world by herself? Is it that she can, in a small way, manage her own social schedule without relying on adult availability? Or is it all a coincidence, a constellation of events made possible by her increasing maturity?
It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I seem to have, at times, gained a kid and yet at other times to have lost one; what matters is the joy of watching my first fledgeling spread her wings just a little bit; what matters is the bicycles on the driveway, and the closeness between the girls who ride them.