LE went to a sleepover. Gus told me, “Don’t think about it.”
He didn’t mean, control your emotions, mama bird, dry your tears. Lord no. It was his response to my tenuous observation that everything was…so much more calm and easy and nice with her away.


No constant questions, no hearing “mama?mama?mama?mama?” repeated until I get so irritated I yell “WHAT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD???” to be asked, “Can I have a treat?” or “Is it time for you to come outside and (dance like a monkey for my entertainment every hour of my life because I can’t entertain myself) play with me?”

It’s just not right. I mean, my daughter is a prize. She is so obedient, helpful, and has no idea how to be mean or manipulative. She has never, ever lied to me or been sneaky. Never.  She looks out for her baby brother, especially around other kids.

“You need to slow down so you don’t hurt my Brother Bear,” spoken polite but firmly to big kids overtaking them in the giant hamster Habitrail at the McDonalds.

Physically, she’s a living doll. Gus and I are not quite ready to be sold to a freak show where we charge two bits a gander, but let’s face it, her attractiveness is a genetic blip. Slight, skin like porcelain, happy and pretty. It’s like putting turpentine and A1 sauce into a blender and pouring out ice cream smoothie.

All these virtues though, I can only enjoy them when I’m focused on her entirely. Which I can not do for long periods of time because she is exhausting, and I am an emotional slob.

And now I know it’s not just me.

When I went to pick her up from her first slumber party, Bert, her little friend’s dad, met me at the door.
I asked, “How was it?”
“If Amelia (his wife) hadn’t been here, I would have called you to come get her.” That was the first thing this truly patient, energetic, kind father said to me. Before I’d even stepped inside. He looked a little shell shocked.

My mouth falls open, and I picture my six year old, half-naked, screaming and covered in finger paint, raging down the halls of their home, knocking their original art pieces to the floor with a stolen bottle of their top-shelf tequila.

LE, Goddess of Destruction

Amelia, whom I love, appears then, smoothing things over as is her way, “Oh no no. No it was fine. She just got a little scared. I just sat with her till she went to sleep. Like a half hour.”

I look past her to her husband’s wide eyes and see a great deal more truth in them.

It turned out that one of the girls told her bad guys, particularly zombies, were real. And then kept whispering, “I HEAR SOMETHING!”

The other girls shrugged it off after a reasonable amount of fun fear, LE began to cry for me. The same sensitivity that makes her such a good girl, makes her vulnerable.

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