“Mommy, I’m home!”
“Oooh, were you with your boyfriend again? Did you hold hands?”
“Allie and Philip, sitting in a tree…” I could hear Enzo’s teasing, sing song-y voice over in the kitchen. I looked over from the pasta I was making to see the kids, as usual, in battle mode.
“Shut up, Enzo! Philip is not my boyfriend! He’s my best friend.”
“Well, you never stop talking about him. Philip is so cool, Philip is so smart…”
“Because we’re friends! You don’t even have friends, how would you know…”
“Allie, Enzo!” I decided this argument was getting out of hand and I needed to step in. “Stop it, now. Enzo, don’t tease your sister like that. Philip has always been nice to you and you know it. And Allie, don’t be so nasty to Enzo. That’s not very mature of you.”
I got them both to sit down on the couch and continued my speech next to them.
“You should both be a bit nicer to each other. One day, when you’re both older, you’ll regret every mean comment you ever made to one another. Think about that next time you get upset.”
They sat silently, staring at their feet, their cheeks reddening with shame over their argument. They were pretty good kids, when it came down to it. “Can you apologize?”
After the muttered “sorry” from both sides, Enzo quickly got up and went upstairs to play his computer game.
I wanted to get up and continue dinner as well, but Allie called me back. “Mommy?”
“What is it, sweetie?” I asked.
She hesitated for a while. “Is Philip really my boyfriend?”
Somewhat surprised by her question, it took me a while to answer her. “Well, no honey. I think you might be a bit young to have a boyfriend, you’re only nine.” “So when I get older… Does Philip become my boyfriend?”
She looked so genuinely worried, I giggled a little.
“Not if you don’t want him to be,” I said. “Well, how do I know if I want that?”
I took a moment to think. “Sometimes, it’s difficult to know for sure. Especially if you’re friends with someone and like them a lot. But, if you really love somebody, like mommy and daddy love each other, then you just know. You just feel it.”
“What does it feel like?” Allie’s eyes were huge with curiosity.
“It feels… Like that person makes every single thing in your life a little bit better. Even the bad parts, they don’t seem quite so bad if you’re together with them. And everything gets easier, especially being yourself.”
“Is that how daddy makes you feel?”
I smiled. “Yes, it is.” “So if somebody makes me feel that way, I have to marry them?”
I burst out laughing at her horrified face and pulled her close to me. “No, you don’t have to,” I said soothingly, “you don’t have to marry anyone if you don’t want to. But you are way too young to be worrying about those things, little missy. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. You and Philip can just enjoy being good friends. Now, go play, I’ll call you when dinner is ready.”
Satisfied, Allie skipped off.
That night, I stayed up late and waited for Matt on the couch. He walked in, surprised to see me.
“Hey, you. Not in bed yet?”
I simple smiled. “Come here,” I said, patting the seat next to me. Matt obliged and looked at me, a curious look on his face. “Anything special going on?”
“I just realized today how lucky I am to have found you. And how happy I am that we’re together.”
A smile curled his lips. “Right back at ya, baby.”
I leaned in and kissed him. “So, what do you say?” I whispered. “Can I show you how happy I am with you?”
The only answer I got was Matt grabbing my hair and pulling me closer, his lips firmly pressed on mine…