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Truly, Madly, Deeply

Ian, Christine, Alise

Ian, Christine, Alise

The week before our friends Ian and Christine arrived, we talked a lot about them with Simon, showed him pictures of their daughter Alise, and talked about how much he’d like spending time with her when she stayed with us and how they’d surely be best friends. We assumed that he would take one look at her warm, dark eyes, her smooth pale skin, and her glossy dark hair and fall madly in love.

And fall in love he did…only it was “Alise’s Mommy”, Christine, who captured his heart. The first time Simon laid eyes on Christine at the airport, he was catapulted into such raptures of joy that he fell to his knees and crawled in circles. (Why he thought this would impress her is unclear to all parties.) It was Christine who made him smile until I’m sure his face hurt. It was Christine who received countless love pats and hugs each day. It was to sneak time alone with¬†Christine that caused him to kick me and/or Matt out of a room. And it was Christine, “Alise’s Mommy” as Simon insisted on calling her, about whom he said, “She best friend.” ¬†

While they stayed with us, he asked for her first thing in the morning and said goodnight to her last thing at night. He followed her wherever she went, and he did all that she asked without argument. Aside from his grandmothers, Molly and flight attendant Stephanie (from our 2007 trip, when he was 7 months old) are the only two other women I’ve seen him go this ga-ga for. A few days into our friends’ wonderful stay, Ian was threatening to challenge Simon to a duel, and Matt and I were slightly concerned that all the attention might be getting tedious for Christine.

Now that Christine is gone, Simon is still talking about her. My first hunch was to attribute this behavior to my father-in-law, one of the greatest flirts who ever flirted. But the story is closer to one from my side of the family. When my brother Steve was a baby, my Uncle Stewart’s young, pretty girlfriend, officially my Aunt Leona by the time I was born, used to visit from Chicago. Steve adored her and cried every time she left. She had to console him by saying in her imitable Skokie accent: “Don’t cry Steve. I’ll be back.”

It seems kind of fitting that my own son would fall truly, madly, deeply for a dark haired aunt of his own. And so, we’ve had to make similar promises to Simon. We’ve been friends with Ian for a dozen years and were thrilled when Christine entered his life, so it’s not like we weren’t planning on visiting. And our children are wonderfully compatible, so there is no barrier there, either. Still, we have to admit that Simon’s crush has added to our sense of urgency where travel to the Bay Area is concerned.

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