I look at my phone for what feels like the 80th time.
“No. Not yet.”
As if I’d miss the loud, annoying tone I set to alert me to any new texts.
Now that it’s summer vacation, my son and I play this game almost daily when he’s not in camp. He – an only child at almost eight- is really great at playing by himself. He can get lost for hours in his play with Legos, action figures, books or building blocks. But, without fail, there is always the siren call of “Can I have a play date?”
Oh, the dreaded playdate.
It’s not the play date itself that I dread. In fact, play dates are awesome. If they’re at somebody else’s house, they provide me much needed time for myself. As someone who works from a home office, summer can be a tricky balancing act and play dates are huge helps. Even when they occur here, I’m still able to get in some work as the kids amuse themselves, playing really well 99% percent of the time, only surfacing to request a snack or two. My son is happy, friendships blossom and strengthen, and a fun time is usually had by all.
No, it’s not the play date itself that causes my stomach to knot up.
It’s the scheduling of them. Because somehow, when my son pipes up “I’d like a play date please,” it transports me back to a middle school mindset. The type where uncertainty rules and any semblance of self-esteem crumbles.
My son isn’t usually picky when it comes to play dates. At times he’ll have a particular friend in mind, but for the most part, he’s just happy to have a buddy to hang out with who is closer to his age and not “super old” like me. So, we begin with the texting.
Much like pitching a magazine piece, I only query one parent at a time, for fear of accidentally doubling up. So I toss out a text. And wait. And wait some more. At some point, I share the patience of an almost eight year old and wonder when we’ll hear back. That’s when the insecurity floods me.
One of the great aspects of smart phones is that you can pretty much do everything with them. And, one of those is see if somebody has read your text.
They read it. They haven’t responded.