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Kindergarten or marriage?

August 5, 2009

Graysen is a month shy of starting kindergarten and is so excited he can barely
contain himself. Fortunately, he isn’t worried about the impending transition at all.

Quite the contrary — leaving daycare for kindy means that he’s finally “big.” In his ruminations about what it means to be “big,” however, he recently made a quantum mental leap right over the first 12 years of school, past college and career decisions right into … getting hitched.

“Who am I going to marry?!?” he asked, apropos of nothing, as we drove into town last week.

“What?” I queried, wondering if I’d heard him right.

“WHO’M I GONNA MARRY!” he said again, a bit louder to penetrate my motherly deafness.

I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw his little face twisted up in concern. He strained against the belt across his car seat. Looked genuinely worried.

I responded the way most parents would, I imagine. I told him he was only 5, and that he wouldn’t have to worry about that for many, many years.

Many … years.

“MOM!” he whined, obviously put off. I decided to rise to the occasion.

“I don’t know, Gray,” I finally said, “maybe you’ll meet a nice girl named …
Natalie.”

“No.”

“Annie?” I offered.

He shook his head vehemently.

By this time the older kids were giggling.

“How about a girl named …. Ocean!” Mira said through laughter.

“Nooo!” said Graysen, smacking his forehead in defeat.

Obviously, none of us were responding appropriately to a matter of such magnitude.

For Graysen, the simple truth was this: If he knew who he’d marry, then he’d be
really big. Even bigger than kindergarten, which, up until then, was the shining
point at the pinnacle of bigness. I suppose he thought that if he figured out the marriage bit, everything else would be cake.

When I was a kid I wanted to get married too. There was something compelling about the idea. Some je ne sais quoi about being somebody’s one and only. The difference between Graysen and me, however, was that I had figured out the specifics. I wanted to get married on horseback. On the beach. At sunset. To Michael J. Fox.

Later on, I had stars in my eyes for Jason Bateman … Keanu Reeves … Ralph
Macchio … Kiefer Sutherland … Mickey…Rourke …. (??!!)

Plus a few guys here and there from school. Sometimes I’d imagine myself marrying fill-in-the-blank on that horse on that sunset beach and ponder the cadence (or lack thereof) of my first name with their last name.

But no matter whose name was being paired with mine, there was always a sunset into which I would joyfully be carried until death parted us, etc. ad
infinitum.

All of that was when I was much older, however. When I was Graysen’s age I had no concept of it. I was way too preoccupied with other things, like the fact that I was never allowed to watch The Electric Company because it conflicted with my dad’s evening news (rest in peace, Walter Cronkite).

My son, however, is a different sort of child in a different sort of world. And because he’s the youngest, whereas I was the oldest, he has much to keep up with.

I imagine that he thinks marriage would give him some sort of advantage over his siblings, all of whom are decidedly unattached as yet.

Or maybe, just maybe, he’s motivated by his little loving heart. There is a girl in his life with whom he flirted coyly when she started daycare for the summer. She’s a couple of months younger, is super cute and … has an attitude that even rivals Graysen’s. She’s a spitfire who not only stole Gray’s little heart but … sort of broke it a bit as well. From what I hear, she defiantly drew on his coloring pad once. Then there was the time she threw Gray’s suave Hot Wheels sunglasses in the trash.

Despite all of that, Graysen is apparently in love. And during his weeklong
obsession over the oh whomever shall I marry!?? question, he proposed to this
girl. This happened just a couple of days after he got his hair done up in a mohawk—a style I suspect he chose in anticipation of the big moment.

But when he asked, and she accepted, Gray apparently — according to his own
account, in fact — said … nope. Never mind.

And that was that. He hasn’t mentioned marriage since.

On Tuesday morning, however, Gray’s daycare provider, Edna, handed me a
sticky note with a phone number on it. Apparently, the two little lovebirds have
backed things up a notch. Now, instead of marriage, they’ve decided to trade phone numbers. They want me to sort out a play date, which I’m thrilled and relieved about.

A play date, after all, takes far less effort to arrange than, say, a wedding.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. auntiehallie permalink
    August 6, 2009 8:12 pm

    ralph macchio!! haha! oh, we all had it bad for ralph, didn’t we??

    gray cracks me up, seriously, every time.

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