Wednesday night, we invited three of Maya's friends over for a lil' Junior High Valentine's Party/Give-Your-Parents-A-Date Night. We served pizza and cupcakes. It was kind of a manipulative move on my part because I wanted a close-up look and listen on Maya's friends. I wanted to get a better feel for who Maya's hangin with. I also couldn't help planting some self-love seeds in other girls other than my own. Stuck in the cupcakes, I posted handmade heart signs that read: Love You. Be True. Dream Big. Make Peace. Have Fun. Be Kind. Speak Up. Be You. Live It Up. Love Rules. The girls were young enough not to roll their eyes and flick the signs to the ground, which I considered a victory for my propagandous strategy. Hearing one of the girls yell, "I want the Dream Big one" warmed my ulterior-motive heart.
These girls, including Maya, are all-round good kids and solidly funny. They played American Idol which made me guffaw a couple times. Their sense of spoof was spot on. I let them crank call a couple boys; though they didn't really ask. They just did it even though I was a few feet away. They played Truth or Dare and dared each other to lick Lupe's paw and sniff Mina's shoes (death-defying) and eat a dog kibble. The girl that ate the dog food did so without any hesitation. She said, "What? It's just dried vegetables and chicken. Yum." "And pork shavings!" Maya yelled. The girl is Muslim and her face fell white. "Oh no. I can't eat pork!" When I yelled out that there was no pork in our dog food, she munched away relieved. The only dare I halted was when Maya said, "I dare you to hump the doorknob," which is a decent dare, but Mina was part of the group then. I told Maya in private, "Ix-nay on the humping doorknob dares in front of Mina. I mean, you didn't have to hear the words hump this or that when you were seven." Maya said, "Got it."
I only interjected my propaganda twice more. Early in the evening, an 11 year old, 5'8" Venezuelan stunner named Mica announced that she was fat. Standard, tired young-woman territory, but I told all of them that speaking poorly of oneself is not allowed in my house. Maya, as color commentary, yelled, "Yea, none of that! See? I told you. Don't talk bad about yourself."
The other time was when they started judging each other. "Let's rate our hair, eyes, lips and body, 1-10," a girl suggested. I listened to the game for a little while until I heard some 7's and 8's and sensed some hurt feelings. I walked over and said, "Girls, let me just say that you should always give your friends a 10. Secondly, we all look very different." It was like the UN up in there: Venezuelan mix, Puerto Rican mix, Tibetan mix, Moroccan. "We're all different sizes and quite frankly, you are all gorgeous and you should consider yourself nothing less." They looked at me with absorbent eyes. They nodded and said, "Ok." I said, "Ok, no more speeches!" Then they went back to singing solos, good and goofy.
We leave for Florida this morning, for Maya's tournament. I think I'm excited. Everything is so whirlwind and I haven't had a chance to pump myself up about it. The bake sale went swimmingly and I raised more than half of all the expenses including some cash money we kicked down to Maya's coach for making the trip too. A couple weeks ago my mother decided she wanted to come to Florida as well to cheer on Maya. In the past this suggestion would have seized my heart frozen, but she and I have been on an unprecedented trail-blazing healing path this last year. Real forgiveness happened this year. It all feels miraculous to me. I welcome her company in Florida and I've never said such a thing in my life.
Go Maya - I'll talk to you folks later.
atlanta + amsterdam: celebrations
18 hours ago