Now before you raise an eyebrow about my parenting skills with teenage girls, and topics like dating, for example, please take in the innocence and sweetness of this little tale.
Little did we know when we moved to Arizona that we scored a great neighborhood. They say you can choose your home, but you can’t choose your neighbors. So very true. It’s taken a while to meet our neighbors, because, I’m not even exaggerating, no one goes on a leisurely evening stroll when it’s 108 degrees to make neighborly connections during the summer. We arrived here in April, and the temperatures haven’t improved until recently. Unfortunately, however, school-age kids still have to take the bus, and walk home from the bus stop. That is how Izzy met a very handsome, and all together awesome, neighbor boy.
Over the last six months their friendship has grown. From riding scooters and bikes together, to visiting and laughing for hours by the pool, to walking home from the bus stop each day, Izzy has become smitten with the neighbor boy. And I’m pretty certain the feeling is mutual.
The neighbor boy is playing football this school year, so Izzy has gone to a few of the games. You know those goals you have for your kids? The ones where you hope you are raising her with manners, politeness, respect for adults, a firm handshake and eye contact when speaking with others. Yep. Me too. What I didn’t remember to do was to have her dad and I teach her a thing or two about the game of football, so she could be a supportive fan to her friend. This is the conversation that unfolded last night after Izzy returned home from the game:
Me: How was the game?
Izzy: Very offensive.
Me: Oh, what was the score?
Izzy: It was 0-0.
Me: That would mean it was defensive, and are you sure? Someone had to have scored?
Izzy: Well maybe, in the last two seconds or something.
Me: Hmm. Well what position does he play?
Izzy: Um I think he plays for the offense. His position is DB.
Maddie: That’s defensive back.
Izzy: Oh, well I don’t really know then.
Me: Impressive, Maddie. Cheerleading is paying off. I’m just so confused, though, Izzy. Were you even watching the game? How was the score 0-0?
Izzy: Yeah. I don’t know. I must have missed something.
I had to excuse myself to go laugh out loud in the bathroom, with the faucet running. Izzy was so serious the whole time this conversation unfolded. After I composed myself, I went into her bedroom and asked her if she had a good time, and what her favorite part of the evening was.
Izzy: It was really fun, Mom! I know this may not be right, but I just wanted to get a picture of us, with him in his uniform, standing on the field. I didn’t really understand the game, but I don’t care. I had fun. And I got the picture I’ve wanted for a long time. Here, let me show you.
Don’t those smiles say it all? I mean, really.
Friends, in recent weeks I’ve questioned and wondered about this country. I’ve remembered back to simpler times, as I’ve felt judgment, fear and disappointment rise up in me towards this nation. This picture gives me a glimmer of hope. I see joy. I see simplicity. I see innocence. I see friendship. I see good, old, American football. And I see two young people who aren’t thinking about anything but this moment. I think they are on to something.
Oh to be young again.
And by the way, the score really was 0-0.