After seeing Mama Mia for the first time, a friend laughed about the identity crisis it sparked: she wasn't attracted to Dominic Cooper, who though adorable seemed 16, but to Collin Firth and Pierce Brosnan, who were clearly cast as the middle-aged, rigid (Firth), fathers of the people our age -- or were they our age? how old are we?
This week I bumped into a similar question. We have a 9 year old neighbor girl whom Silas adores. Even Eden says her name. Silas holds her hand, calls to her window to come play, races out of the house to see if she's home. She's a new neighbor, and chances are that even after school starts we'll be seeing a lot of her.
I find myself reaching out to her in a befriending kind of way. But yesterday it hit me all of the sudden that though friendly is fine, my role here is parent. Parent. Because I am a parent. Because I am a parent of a child who is playing with another child. Because the other child is older and may need some guidelines in relating to a 3 year old fan. Because I am thirty-two and she is nine. This is all quite new. Not so much the not being nine part, but the part of being parent of a child who is moving through the world as a child with his own interactions, not simply a baby. This shifts everything. We are shifting.