[this post is just so I can remember this story… if you enjoy it too, all the better]
This afternoon and evening the Vikeslands got the pleasure of hanging out with Charlie. What better way to spend the end of the week–playing and laughing and running and reading and eating and laughing and laughing and laughing with two toddler friends. They hardly needed much babysitting; they essentially just take care of each other. They want to know where the other is at all times (even when they’re pretending they don’t for a while as amusement), and enjoy every type of toddler activity together. In fact, at one point when they were quiet for a moment and I went to check on them, it seemed they even enjoy brushing each other’s hair!
So all was fun and games. Until. I calmly informed them that we needed to go read some books and sing songs because it was time for Charlie to go to bed. What I wasn’t prepared for was mild-mannered, sweet, darling, level-headed Charlie bursting into dramatic sobs. Had Alaythia done that, I wouldn’t have been too surprised. But when Charlie, after a tearless afternoon and evening, began to sob his little heart out, I was a bit startled. I finally convinced both of them that Alaythia would be staying with him for stories and songs, and that we could have lots of both.
As he tried to recover his composure, we read way more stories than his good parents had told me he was to be read at bedtime (sorry, Keren and Jonathan… babysitter’s privilege…). We counted down the number of books remaining in our pile, lest either be startled at the sudden end of the fun. When the book pile (which Alaythia had meticulously selected and stacked for us to read, somewhere in the middle of Charlie’s tears) ran out, she surprisingly got right up and began to slowly walk out of Charlie’s bedroom, unabashedly resting her chin near her chest in silent sorrow and protest. But, walking forward and out nonetheless, albeit slowly. Charlie started to follow her, and she stopped to wave. I told them they could say goodnight and goodbye, which they did a number of times. They seemed so sad and downcast that I encouraged them to give each a nice hug good night, to have a little comfort in their parting.
So their hug began. It was decidedly the longest hug between toddlers I have ever witnessed, and after several very long seconds, Alaythia–I kid you not–rested her head on Charlie’s chest. As if that wasn’t enough to make me wonder whether I should laugh or cry, she murmured, with all the drama of the parting of Anne and Diana or a teenage breakup, “I’ll miss you, Charlie.” At which point he continued hugging her, harder, perhaps, as after a few moments she literally shoved him away, saying, “Too much hug.” And walked away.
Her dramatic exit didn’t remain cold, however, and it became somewhat difficult to sing another peaceful nighttime song for Charlie and tuck him into bed with the sound of her extraordinarily loud sobbing from the next room. He kept saying to me, “Eya sad. Eya cry.” And I tried to nonchalantly soothe him and tuck him in. I was more than a bit stressed that the evening’s drama was not yet done, but thankfully, he went to bed without protest.
However, a sobbing little girl took about ten more sad, sad minutes to console.
I will say, the evening left me feeling that my dreams of Alaythia being a world-class scientist, a paradigm-changing mathematician, life-saving doctor, or Olympic-level athlete had been a little dampened. I realized she may have a much brighter future as a star of Lifetime movies.
I also realized what a gift it is to have a good friend. How many of us have people in our lives that weep and embrace us when we say goodbye? Friendship is a rare and beautiful gift, at any age. I’m so grateful my little daughter has such a wonderful friend.