Yesterday on the way home from school, we passed a school friend/neighbor on a walk with her mom, brother and a friend of his. I had Ali and Amanda in the car because we were going to a party at Amanda's house later.
The girls lean out the window to say hi and learn the group is headed to the park. Ali and Amanda are invited to go, but they have to change first. The group keeps walking. The girls and I head in.
Deh. Deh. Deh.
I've never let Alison walk to the park by herself. Or with a friend. Yeah, it's less than a block away and I can catch glimpses of her from my window if I was inclined to spy. I can even see parts of the park from my backyard. If I was inclined to spy.
She's 10. She's with Amanda. They're going to the park where another mom will be there. Jeff just looks at me like I'm a mad woman. "They'll be OK," he says.
Deh. Deh. Deh.
They dash outside before I can change my mind. I watch them go down the road. I spy from the window to be sure they actually get to the park. It's a beautiful fall day. One of the last we'll get for a while. They're out in the crisp sunshine.
My heart is pounding out the Jaws rythm.
"Hey, honey. Want to go for a walk with me?" I ask, batting my eyes.
It worked for about a quarter second. But like the good man he is, he shrugged into a jacket. We strolled down the street. I saw her little red hair flaming in the sun as she played tag, yelling and screaming with her friends.
We turned the corner and kept on walking.
This morning she brought back up again a subject she's been on for a couple of weeks. "Hey Dad, do you think you would want to go to the Y with me and practice some basketball?"
As loud as my heart was beating yesterday in fear, I think his was pumping about to burst with pure ecstasy. But he kept it on the down-low.
"Sure, honey. I think I could do that."
Now, Jeff's in the middle of a pretty big case at work. He's been burning the midnight and weekend oil for a few weeks and there's more to come. But nothing was going to get in the way of his working out with Alison. And I mean nothing.
I dropped them off at the gym and went to the grocery only to find them an hour later still at it. Ali was sweating. Jeff was just shining.
I think he fell in love with her all over again.
If she's smart, she'll ask him for a dog again today.