So my kids are making all kinds of new friends so quickly it's making my head spin. Cecelia hangs with mostly public school kids now (she's dying to go all of a sudden, maybe 10th grade I tell her - convince your father - I've already put down a deposit for next year), and I've met a couple of new moms and girls in the last month. Jack has an online friend from his video games that he apparently knows from 2nd grade maybe? He's been begging to get together with him for weeks. They reunited at a friend's house Friday night for a sleepover. Today he desperately wanted an afternoon playdate and despite my exhaustion from work I knew I'd be missing the hell out of him all next weekend so I acquiesced.
Jack finally found Russ online at 1:30 p.m. to set it up, and interrupted my walk texting me the number to call his mom. She didn't answer. Back at the house, Jack said no she's in bed sick. Call his uncle. Uncle answered the phone, "You have 30 seconds I'm on a bike ride." I said, "I want to pick up your nephew and take him for a treat with my son, his online friend, but I don't know where he lives" all the while thinking how bizarre this was. He gave me more than 30 seconds and found Stepdad's number.
Stepdad answered, "Yes, his Uncle told me you would be calling. I'll bet he would love that. Is this the Jack on Woodlawn?"
"No, we are in Foxcroft, they are online friends. I haven't met y'all yet, but I spoke with your wife on the phone to get her e-mail for Jack's birthday party. I'm just going to take them to get some ice cream and back to my house to play. I'll be there at three and I'll drop him back by six or so. Jack told me your address, thank goodness you are only 5 minutes away. Does that work?"
"Sounds great. I'm the contact now. Not mom or uncle. So funny how these boys get these ideas and everything gets messed up. I was right upstairs."
"Yes I've contacted three of Russ' family members to set this up. I hope they have fun."
I drove to the house with Jack and Russ ran out of the garage. I got out of the car and shook his hand, introducing myself. "So do I need to meet an adult? Or are they ok for us to go?"
"Oh, we can just go. I haven't had lunch, can we do that before treat?"
"Do you like Subway? My stomach is growling I need something too before yoga. Then we can go to Baskin Robbins." I brought my book so I could give them privacy and found a great table outdoors between the two restaurants.
"I love Subway!"
Jack had eaten lunch, so I told Russ to order what he wanted. After he ordered a foot long sandwich, politely asking if it was ok, I ordered a cup of jalapenos to go with the Sun Chips I picked out. He turned to me, looked up, and said with a straight face, "So, you are living the spicy life?"
You could have knocked me over with a feather. My kids friends don't address me quite so candidly, especially new ones. I was excited, and decided to hide my surprise and engage. "Yes, I live the spicy life. Do you live the spicy life?"
"Well, I used to live the spicy life. Then I ate this pepper, it was so hot, it hurt me. I had to give up the spicy life."
"Entirely? You gave it up for good?"
"Yes. I haven't had anything spicy in a while."
"You know, when I was your age, I ate some really spicy hot sauce at a Mexican restaurant at the Epcot Center in Disney and I spent about 30 minutes at a water fountain before I felt like I wasn't going to die. It scared me away from the spicy life. But eventually I got back to it, and I have no regrets. So I would encourage you to keep it open - you might enjoy the spicy life again someday. Now I'm going to go outside it's freezing in here. Enjoy your sandwich and come find me at Baskin Robbins when you are ready for ice cream."
I tucked Jack into bed tonight. I told him I really liked his new friend. "He gave me a new identity. I've irrevocably changed. Up until now, I was just Gizabeth. Now I'm living the spicy life. I can't wait to have him over again. Now I'll sign all my Instagram posts hashtag living the spicy life."
"No mom, please don't."
"Just kidding - I've never hashtagged. I'm above that. Or below it. Or off to the side maybe. Not a hashtagger. So did y'all have fun?"
"Yes, he was really scared when that song he played for you on Spotify had a cuss word in it."
"I noticed him whispering to you frantically in the back seat. I didn't mind."
"Yeah, I told him it was ok. No worries."
"There are worse things in life than cuss words. Just don't cuss at your teachers and you will be ok."
"Yeah mom, I know."
"I know you know. Good night, love you."
"Love you more."