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A girl friend, not a girlfriend

Submitted by on Thursday, 23 September 2010 2 Comments

Mom, why do they call it a “girlfriend”? Big Guy asked. Doesn’t that mean you kiss and date and that stuff? Why can’t I have a girl who’s a friend?

I have no idea why they call it a “girlfriend,” I said. But of course you can have a girl who’s just a friend.

And he does indeed. She’s one of his best friends, even though his guy pals think it’s weird. “Ewwwwwwwww!” one said recently. “She can’t be your friend. She’s a girl.”

“Well, she’s still my friend,” Big Guy replied insistently enough to end any further criticism.

They met when they were on the same baseball team – she was the only girl and the team’s catcher because she wanted to be, not because someone stuck her there. She once took a bad hop to the eyeball when she had to play infield because the roster was short that game, and she wailed, not because it hurt, but because she didn’t want to leave.

In her dark hair and wide brown eyes you can see the beginnings of the beauty she’ll be in a few years. But her eyes also reveal the little spitfire she is now. I love that about her. If I had a daughter, I’d want her to be exactly like A.

Athletically they’re equals, and I think that’s a big part of the appeal. Both have canons for arms, and they delight in trying to burn each others’ hands as they play catch. Both have bazookas attached to their hips, and they love to try to kick soccer balls at each other as hard as they can. Big Guy learned to swim in just a week because of her – she was a class ahead and already certified to dive off the high board. He had to catch up.

They’ll bicker occasionally – that’s not surprising considering how strong-willed and competitive both are. But then they’ll plop down and giggle together over a movie.

It was like that with one of my closest friends in high school. We weren’t athletes. Instead, we beat each other’s brains in academically. We made each other better, pushed each other farther than either of us would have gone had one not had the other.

But it wasn’t all about competing. One steamy May morning during a marching-band trip  we walked for hours, chatting and trying to remember all the words to The Electric Company Sign Song. Both of us just needed to be away from the crowd.

And the evening of our high school graduation, we marched arm-in-arm in the procession. We had to do some finagling to make that one work, but in the end we managed to walk together because that was the way it had to be. We loved each other deeply, but on a purely platonic level.

He was my boy friend – but never my boyfriend.

So yes, Big Guy, your mom says it’s perfectly OK for you to have a girl friend. You’re really just repeating family history.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Leslie K. said:

    OHHHHHH I hope this is the type of woman he decides will be his beloved when he is grown up and ready to make ‘the choice’.

    thank you for this….

  • Debra said:

    You and me both, Leslie!