I can’t deny it. The oldest girl is definitely my child — in more ways than looks. It’s mannerisms, ethics, speech, sense of humor, disposition, and best (or worst) of all — she’s a writer. Since she was able to write she has written to my husband and me when she’s happy, angry, or even indifferent and just curious about something. Usually, though, it’s unhappiness that triggers her to pen a note. She has almost always had the ability to walk away from a situation, think, and return later, clear, and questioning. It used to be the funniest thing to have a 5 year old hand us notes and walk away, leaving us to decipher her less than perfect spelling. She always leaves space for us to write back.
Recently she was invited to a friend’s sleepover. At a hotel. So not happening. She asked if I trusted her. Wow. At 9 you’re asking me this? Really? Isn’t that for teenagers who want to take the car or stay out past curfew? Sheesh! I told her I do indeed trust her and that the decision to say no had nothing to do with her or her behavior. I told her I’d never met the girl or her parents. She countered that she’d tried to get the girl’s mother and me to meet at an assembly before school ended. I left before I could meet her. That was indeed my fault, but that one meeting still wouldn’t have been enough for me to agree to the overnight party at a hotel.
Am I (gulp) old school? I assumed this was how all parents dealt with their children’s friends. You meet the child. You meet the parent(s). More than once. You Google them and then you do a secret drive by of the house. If you have a friend in law enforcement you have their name and tags run. Normal, right? So, I didn’t know the friend, I hadn’t met the mama, I didn’t dig the hotel idea, the answer was no. Oh, for days this child asked and asked and asked. The no remained (sometimes she can wear me down). But the thought of her in a hotel prancing around w/other cute little girls being watched by how many strangers and potential pedophiles (yes, yes, I know there are closet freaks everywhere, but why purposely put her in that situation)? The bottom line: no one can watch and protect my child better than I can.
She penned the saddest ‘I don’t understand, you are so unfair’ letter. I did the only natural thing I could do. I wrote back.