Last night was the first night I’d seen the girls in an entire week. It was their dad’s weekend, so I didn’t see them then. He had them for the Fourth (don’t worry – a Faux Fourth is coming…). And then last Wednesday night, when I would normally have had them for dinner, was my friend’s funeral, so I didn’t get to see them then. It was a very long week in which I feel like I’d lived three lives, at least. It seemed, too, that the girls had grown several inches and turned into different selves overnight. Such is always the way during July when they turn into whatever version of their self lives at their Dad’s house. And then in August, somehow, they return to me their old selves again. It’s a kind of magic, I just haven’t figured out which kind.

In any case, one of the differences I marveled over on the drive home was this new predilection towards conspiratorially whispering with each other behind raised hands. Oh, their eyes glimmered as they do, shooting not-so-surreptitious glances my way. They knew they were not being their most sneakiest selves, and they knew that I knew, and they knew that I knew that they knew. Bee, particularly, thought all the meta was hilarious. I could tell. The glint in her eyes practically was shouting laughter, it was shining so hard.

But this is what I loved. All I had asked was that if they gave the salmon and lemon rice a try, without complaints, that they could choose our dinner for Wednesday night. And what did my darling girls do? They huddled up in the backseat, trying to decide what to have for dinner on Wednesday. Whether it was a good deal. If I would go for Tostino’s pizza. I know, because my darling girl-children don’t whisper as quietly as they think they do.

I pretended, though, that I couldn’t hear them. Because this is what I want. I want my girls to feel bonded to each other, to choose their alliance first and foremost. Of course I want them to feel near and dear to me – and I’m pretty sure they do – but I need them to be their own best friends. I am their mom. It’s a pretty tight relationship, of course – but I’m not their best friend. Maybe, possibly one day, when they’re mostly all grown-up, maybe then we can also be friends… but I would never want my friendship with either of my daughters to be thought of as coming before that of her sister. It’s just not how it’s done. Or, at least, not how I want it to be done.

I am very close to both of my sisters. I remember the days of our own whispered conversations, of colluding and trying to sneak things past my mom. Sometimes we were very good at it, as I’m sure my own girls will be. Other times, I’m sure my mom let us think we were getting away with things. Not unlike how I stared at the road last night as if nothing was afoot. It’s important for their growing friendship that they have these moments. I know I’m shooting myself in the foot, a bit, because one day the target will be how to sneak in after curfew, aided and abetted by a sister. But them’s the breaks. If I want for my girls what I have with my sisters, then I have to take my lumps with…um…the good things that go with lumps. (What the heck is that saying?)

That’s why, driving home after a very long Monday, after an entire week of missing my girls, their whispering on their own in the back seat of the, conspiring for dollar pizza was far and away the best part of my day. God save the mama – but I hope it’s just the beginning.


2 Responses to “Pssssst…!”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Love it. I really enjoy those moments when my kids are plotting (or just being nice to each other) and that believe I don’t know it.

  2. Kim Says:

    Dude. Have you instituted the “We’ll see…” code yet??

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