It was my son's last get-together with his best friend, S. S is a lovely brown-haired girl with an infectious grin, they'd become fast friends since the beginning of the school year and had remained inseparable ever since. I'd arranged for them to hang out at our house while I finished some last-minute packing before we left Seattle for our new home in Oregon, and I could hear their excited conversation over the chirp and mumble of the TV in the next room. As I loaded boxes and ran the tape gun, I found myself wondering how much they would miss each other, and whether or not they'd stay in touch after we moved.
A few minutes later, I peeked into the living room to check on them, and my eyes widened. Riley was lying on the floor in front of the television with S reclined over him, her head on his chest. Riley's hand trailed gently in her hair. The arrangement of their bodies made a startlingly intimate tableau.
DID I MENTION THE PART ABOUT HOW THEY'RE BOTH 6 YEARS OLD?
It was a completely innocent moment, but I have to say that I handled it with all the grace of an over-excited Sheltie. First I stood there giggling semi-hysterically to myself, then I strolled whistling through the room in order to stealth-snap photos of them with my phone (they remained oblivious), and finally I furiously texted the image to my husband.
UM, OH MY GOD, I wrote. LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE. IS THIS NORMAL? ARE THEY NOW MARRIED IN THE EYES OF THE LORD? HOW WILL I EXPLAIN THAT TO S's MOM?
HA, he wrote. THAT'S PRETTY CUTE.
I typed back: BUT SHOULD I BE FREAKING OUT? BECAUSE I AM KIND OF FREAKING OUT. SHOULD I THROW A BUCKET OF WATER ON THEM? SHOW THEM A GRAPHIC FILM ON THE REPERCUSSIONS OF UNDERAGE PREGNANCY? MAYBE I SHOULD SWITCH THE CHANNEL FROM LOONEY TUNES TO TEEN MOM?
IT'S NOT A BIG DEAL BUT WHY DON'T YOU JUST ASK THEM TO MOVE, he wrote.
BUT I DON'T WANT TO MAKE *THEM* FEEL LIKE WHAT THEY'RE DOING IS WEIRD BECAUSE IT DOES SEEM PRETTY INNOCENT AND AFFECTIONATE AND WHAT IF—
JESUS DARLIN, I'M AT WORK HERE.
So in the end I just told them they were too close to the TV and it wasn't good for their eyes (ha! Old-school parenting FTW) and they moved to the couch where they started pelting each other with pillows and pretty soon they ran outside and made annoying pshew pshew pshew sounds for about a solid hour while wielding sticks and shouting about which Ninjago warrior they were and THE END.
But I'm still torn on whether their comfy cuddle-time was the most adorable thing ever, or a teensy tiny bit on the WHOAH HOLY SHIT side. What do you think? What would you do if you saw your kindergarten-aged kid snuggling with their friend, looking for all the world like a couple of pint-sized newlyweds?
Image via Linda Sharps