One afternoon early this spring, Arlo effervesced into the car at pickup, delighted with the news that his friend Tripp had invited him over for a playdate after school. “He says I’m coming over to his house today!” Arlo reported excitedly, and I had to break the news that this plan was not, in fact, one that had been discussed between any adults so it wouldn’t be put into effect. I added that I could email his parents to see if we could find a safe way to get together outside on a nice day, and he adjusted to the disappointment (it helped that I had chocolate chip cookies riding shotgun) without much more discussion.
A couple of days later on the ride home, Liam, who is in the same grade as Tripp’s older sister, Haven, had some more to say on the subject of the Kindergarten boys’ concocted afternoon playdate earlier that week.
Liam: “So Haven said that Tripp really thought Arlo was coming over the other day. She told me that he kept saying, ‘Arlo will be here any minute,’ even though she told him she didn’t think that was happening. So I said maybe they could get together over spring break, but Haven said they will be out of town that week. She thought the weekend after might be good. I told her it might work if the weather is nice enough to be outside, so we decided to watch the forecast next week and plan from there.”
If successful parenting involves transitioning the agency over day-to-day managerial responsibilities from one generation to the next, effectively rendering us the guarantors of our own obsolescence, then I think Haven’s mom and I just hit a milestone. Or maybe this is simply a case of two fourth graders wanting a break from the attentions of their little brothers. Either way, if this is the kind of water cooler conversation that’s taking place at school (minus the water cooler because…Covid), I’ll take it.