Husband and I took his 8-year-old cousin, Lydia, out to play Pokemon Go one evening. Lydia and her parents live in Canada and they come and visit us once or twice a year. I was her best friend at one point (during these visits). I used to get goosegumps on my head when she read aloud, which is one of my most favorite sensations; and I had played really boring games with her because she found them incredibly funny. Since I’ve had a baby though I’ve been too busy to spend much time with her when she comes.
It was a chilly summer night, we went to our usual spot at Spider Central. She came out of her shell and babbled non-stop. “Do you love me? No you don’t love me! Oh yes you DO love me!” She kept saying to the pokemons in the game, very melodramatic. My husband was rather embarrassed. I realized that I missed her and I wanted to put an arm around her shoulder. Would she mind? Would she think anything of it? Is she too old for it? Am I too old for it? Does she love me? Does she not love me?
Now that I have this idea to put an arm around her shoulder, all I feel is the distance between us if I don’t. Would she notice it too? That I’ve become distant since I had a baby? If I don’t, it wouldn’t change anything in her world, would it? If I did, would it?
“Oh Lydia!” And I did. And I gave her a little squeeze.