Hey, son, I think I’m in love with your friend.
No, not like that.
Well, kind of like that.
Granted, she’s 12 and I’m just a wee bit older, but it’s not that kind of love so don’t give me that look you gave Uncle Dave when he said he wanted to be a Mall Santa.
Let me explain:
You know in gymnastics when you’re just about to do the back hip twisty thingamajiggy that you’ve really struggled with? What you might not know is for a moment or two, even though I’m sitting in the stands, I’m right there on the gymnastics floor with you. My muscles are tense, my toes are pointed and I’m whispering, “We can do this.”
Now picture yourself on the playground. You know you want a girlfriend; I know you want a girlfriend. More specifically, you want Emmie to be your girlfriend. To be honest, though, you wouldn’t know what to do with her if she were your girlfriend. When I asked you what boyfriends and girlfriends do together, your answer was a very clear, “Umm…I don’t know. Nothing, I guess.” And trust me, I’m totally fine with that answer. But I know you want a girlfriend, if for no other reason than to be able to say you have one.
The thing is, Emmie barely knows you’ve sat next to her in class for the last 5 years. You’ve got nothing in common, she’s 4 feet taller than you, and her big brother would beat the living bajeezus out of you if he even saw you looking at her. The first and last words she’s ever spoken to you were, “Get a life,” which you’ve convinced yourself translates to, “Sure, you totally have a chance in Hell.” You remain hopelessly hopeful.
Meanwhile, standing next to you is Lizzie. I love Lizzie. She’s a great friend; she totally accepts you for the goofball you are. Her friendship is completely unconditional and you guys have a blast together. She doesn’t care that you’re into Minecraft and Legos, and she isn’t worried that your less-than-stellar fashion sense will cramp her style.
Lizzie is everything I want you to want a girl to be. I know this is probably some lame vicarious attempt to re-live my tween years and actually get it right this time. But when you guys are wrestling on the living room floor, I’m sitting on the couch, muscles tense, hoping for that split-second pause when you both see what I’m seeing.
And I’m whispering, “We can do this.”