My five-year old daughter, Siena, fell in love recently. It was with another girl – a five-year old princess named Vivien, who lives in a castle in Chicago and is the daughter of my best friend Katsy.
Siena and Vivien have known each other since they were three-months old, but they haven’t actually seen each other since. They’ve only heard stories. Siena has heard great tales of Princess Vivien, and Vivien has heard the wondrous stories of Siena and her fairy magic.
But a few weeks ago, they got to chase fairies in a zen garden, play on the beach, sleep in the same bed every night, bathe together with Roberto – the toy penguin, eat fish and chips at the English pub, watch fireworks over San Francisco on the 4th of July, listen to a dharma talk about Harold and the Purple Crayon, leave fairy notes, spend hours in a hot tub, and share other magical adventures that made them fall in love.
They were so in love that Siena pretty much ignored her Mommy and Daddy for a week. She didn’t care about morning snuggles in the bed, because she was too busy coloring with Princess Vivien. She didn’t want to be read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, because she had Princess Vivien to build puzzles with instead. Mommy and Daddy were just a wee bit sad. We missed Princess Siena. But we didn’t tell her, because we were happy she was so in love.
Then, Princess Vivien had to go back to Chicago.
And Siena wept. Unconsolably. For hours.
She threw herself on her bed and pointed to the trundle bed where Princess Vivien had slept, and she said, “Every time I look at her bed and she’s not there, my heart hurts.” And she wept some more.
And I started to cry too, because I am missing my friend Susan Aisha, who just died, and I am feeling the same way – that every time I look her way and she’s not there, my heart hurts.
Siena was so bereft and exhausted from a week of so much play, she fell asleep at 2:30pm and I finally woke her at 6pm, thinking she might actually sleep all night if I didn’t. After dinner, Siena said, “Mommy, it hurts so much to love Vivien that I don’t think I ever want to see her again.”