6:00 p.m. - FFFN begins.
it started off like any other normal FFFN ... the FYO's standard question, "did you bring me a gift?" followed by a quick dig in my coat pocket for a little girlie bubble bath. great dinner made lovingly by BlogAuthor. big bottle of wine for me and BlogAuthor to share. a special non-alcoholic drink for Biomom and Itsy. sharing highs & lows with the FYO pointing her little finger to instruct us as to who's turn it is to share next. and a rousing game of Moose in the Haus. good times.
8:00 p.m. - the bed-time routine begins.
as per usual, we all staked out our usual spots on the massive bed and then BlogAuthor read a book of FYO's choice. there were the typical moments ... FYO's legs kicking here and there and her finger poking at her lip, wiggling and jiggling from sheer exhaustion from her long week as a kindergartner. BlogAuthor carefully reading every. single. word. as to avoid any demand from the FYO to start over from the beginning, while at the same time repeatedly asking FYO to sit still and pay attention. the threat of an ultimatum feeling thick in the air. Biomom cuddling with FYO and exhibiting the utmost calm and patience. Itsy giving a little kick just to say, "hey! i'm here too!" and me, HFRM#1, holding onto FYO's little foot ... watching the whole scene. loving all of these people who love me right back.
with the reading done, we played a quick game of hide-n-seek followed by "jumping toura loura" with FYO jumping on her bed while we sang.
8:15 p.m. - eenie meanie minie moe.
again, as per usual, the time-tested eenie meanie minie moe method was employed skillfully by the FYO to select one of us to spend 5 mintues with before saying final good-nights. and, i was selected. as much as i feel honored by being selected and LOVE these quiet moments when i'm alone with the FYO and her thoughts ... it is also terrifying. i am ALWAYS worried about saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, and screwing up the FYO for life. i swear she senses this fear in me and goes for the soft spot. every. time.
our 5 minutes of q&a time started off easy enough.
FYO - "why do you like working at [the museum]?"
HFRM#1- "well, i love the art and i work with fun people!"
FYO - "you're lucky, you get to see the art anytime you like!"
HFRM#1 - "yes, i am lucky!"
FYO - "i like [the museum] because it has all this great art and they let EVERYONE see it for free!"
HFRM#1 - "yeah! can i quote you on that?"
i grabbed a pillow and settled in. and just as i started to think this was going to be a relatively easy q&a session with FYO, she struck.
FYO - "when i grow up, i want to work at [the museum] like you do. or be an attorney. or be a professor. or be a bride."
my stomach flipped and i heard my heart beat loudly in my ears as if to say, "don't.screw.this.up.don't.screw.this.up.tha-thump.tha.thump." my mind raced, "what do i say? what's the right thing? i have to say something! she's waiting for me to say SOMETHING!"
FYO just sat on the bed wiggling and staring at me, playing with the heart necklace around her neck that i gave her earlier in the night.
HFRM#1 - "well, that's a good list of career options ... um, so ... why do you want to be a bride?"
FYO - "because you get cake."
sweet relief flooded over me. OF COURSE! this was about CAKE! ever since the first time i ever met this girl, she has been ALL about the CAKE! the first word i heard come out of her mouth was when she was just over a year old and strapped into a highchair, eyes glued to this big beautiful cake on the table, fork in hand, patiently waiting for someone, anyone, to GIVE. HER. A. PIECE. ALREADY. out of peer frustration she looked around the room at the adults chatting away and then let out a very loud plea for "CAAAAKKKKEEEE!" priceless.
HFRM#1 - with a bit of a chuckle - "oh honey, you can have cake anytime! in fact, i'd be happy to make you a big ol' cake tomorrow!"
FYO - "yeah, but when you're a BRIDE you get TWO pieces." she held her two little fingers up to my face to emphasize the importance of this point.
HFRM#1 - "seriously, i'll make you a cake tomorrow and you can have as MUCH as you like. really."
FYO - "yeah, but i want to be like you and be a bride ..."
HFRM#1 - "um, yeah ... only, i've never been a bride, sweetie."
Suddenly FYO stands for "fourteen year old" rather than "five year old":
FYO - "SERIOUSLY?!?!?!" hands on hips and eyes bugged out in amazement.
HFRM#1 - "seriously."
FYO - "not even with [HFRM#1's ex]."
HFRM#1 - "no, no, nope ... no, i was never a bride. not even with [ex]. thank goodness ..."
FYO - "SERIOUSLY?!?!?!"
HFRM#1 - "seriously."
FYO - "but why not?"
HFRM#1 - "um ... well, sometimes adults just don't see eye-to-eye. sometimes, they don't agree on really important stuff."
FYO - "but, why couldn't you just come together?"
blood rushes to my face and i feel HOT. that is THEE question, right? how does she know at the age of five that this is THEE question? the question that inevitably follows the end of any relationship. . .
HFRM#1 - "um, well ... it's just complicated. do you know what that means?"
FYO - "yeah, messy."
HFRM#1 - "yeah, messy is right."
FYO - "well, i still want to be a bride someday."
HFRM#1 - "and maybe you WILL be a bride someday. and that will be a great day. but, you know, it's just ONE day. and you can be a bride AND a lot of other things all at the same time."
From the bottom of the staircase we suddenly hear ...
BlogAuthor - "5 minutes are up FYO! HFRM#1 needs to say good-night now!"
sweet relief returns, along with a little fear. did i say the right thing? did i screw her up for life??? it may take years to know how much damage i just caused in this 5 minute q&a.
i give FYO a big hug and kiss, then tuck her in. we exchange our "good-nights!" and "i love yous" and i make my way downstairs to BlogAuthor and Biomom, feeling a little dizzy and anxious. i grab my glass of wine and hold in both hands as i walk into the family room. i want to tell them everything and have them reassure me. i want them to say things like, "you did great! of course you didn't screw her up." but, i don't know anything ABOUT kids. what if i tell them what i said and it turns out to be ALL WRONG? what if they say, "omigod. you said WHAT to our child? how stupid are you??? that's it. you're paying for her therapy."
it's a gamble. but, i tell them. and they validate me and reassure me in that way that only your oldest and dearest friends can do. and suddenly we're laughing and BlogAuthor is telling me about something she said to FYO earlier in the day that is MUCH more likely to cause permanent damage.
i breathe deeply and relax into the sofa, take a sip of wine, and feel so grateful to have FYO and her moms in my life. i look at Biomom's belly and think about Itsy. one more kid in my life to love and spoil ... and try hard, hard, hard not to screw up.