My three- and a half-year-old son is in love.
Graham is in love with a much older “woman” who every evening rules the playground just steps from our new front door. Her name is Carolina and I’d guess she’s about thirteen years old.
Carolina is tall and beautiful with long, dark hair. She travels with a fawning entourage of younger girls who are noticeably less confident than she and quick to conform when she rolls her lovely eyes and tells them they’re being “so immature!”
Graham noticed Carolina the very first time we visited the playground and he’s remained in her thrall ever since.
“There she is Mommy! There’s the girl! I’m gonna go play with her!” he shouts gleefully. Ever the picture of blissful optimism, he generally runs headlong in her direction only to be summarily dismissed.
“I think she’s a little old for you to play with Graham,” I cautioned him a few nights ago, after she once again rebuffed his enthusiastic invitation to join him on the slide with a giggle and a bemused pat on the head.
“But she has pretty long hair, Mommy,” Graham countered. “I have to play with her. I JUST have to.”
And so he tried – all night that night and all night again tonight when, upon arrival at the playground Graham pushed his way into her gaggle of pre-teen admirers and announced, “Hi there! You might remember me from last week at the playground.”
I don’t believe Carolina did.
No, she just smiled weakly and turned back to the task at hand: impressing her friends with her brand new cell phone.
Graham was undeterred and determinedly stepped into the circle again.
“Well, gee, that phone sure looks like it’s got everything except the kitchen sink!”
Yes, he actually said that.
And this time he actually got some genuine laughs and oohs and ahhs from the girls before they moved on.
I can hardly bear to watch the way Graham puts himself out there these days, the way he cheerfully wears his tender heart on chubby sleeve.
I just watch with a strange mixture of apprehension and admiration, scarcely believing this is the same boy who only a year ago inspired me to worrying about his extreme shyness.
And it’s funny; while I am thrilled that Graham seems to have well and truly outgrown his shyness, I never imagined that his new-found fearlessness would somehow terrify me in a way that his introversion never did.
Originally published on DonMillsDiva