I’ve noticed a couple of things recently that I probably should have noticed a long time ago. When it comes to kids playing amongst themselves, groups of three’s are not good and that it takes more than ice cream and a squirt of the hose to cure whatever is ailing you.

I think it was this Sunday last when my little one and I when finished running our errands and were just sitting around, hoping that something to do would fall in our laps. She decided to take a walk down the block to see if her friends were around.

I need to preface this a bit. Any of you who know me know that she only spends a week at a time at my place. With that in mind, all of the rest of the kids on the block come from the traditional two parent families in which the mom stays at home and dad goes off to work. Needless to say, their kids see each other almost every day and do an awful lot of activities together. Since mine is only around for half of the time, sometimes I think she feels she’s got some catching up to do.

Anyway, she made her way down the block and came back a few minutes later. One of her “best friends” parents offered to take some of them on a bike ride to the local park and she asked if she could go. Of course I said, “Yes” and we headed down the basement to drag her bike outside, filled up a backpack with snacks for the gang and some bottled water. She donned her helmet and pedaled down the street and was off.

I started making some mental preparations on what to have for dinner and noticed I was missing some essentials. Not wanting to make a full-blown trip to the supermarket, I decided that the local co-op, which is a about a block and a half away would do. It was a nice day and I figured the walk would do me good. All in all, the round trip took about twenty minutes.

When I got home, I started to unload the supplies. The house was quiet and I figured I had an hour or so to myself before she got home. It was then when I felt nature’s call and made my way upstairs to the bathroom.

Before I even got the door open, there was my kid, opening her bedroom door. She had that look on her face and I could tell she had been crying. I’ll let her describe the circumstances which led to the tears.

”Today when I was going on a bike ride with Gracie and Cameron, they started to ignore me. They rode away from me as fast as they could and every time I would catch up they wouldn’t talk to me. It hurt my feelings a lot. It hurt so bad that I turned around and went home. I thought they were my friends but I thought otherwise at the time. I was up in my room crying for a little while when my dad came home. He assured me that everything was fine, gave me a bowl of ice cream and we squirted each other with the hose. After that, I was better but still upset.”

I’ve always told her that if things aren’t going well, she could always come home. That she’d always be safe there and that no harm would ever come her way under my roof. I’m glad those words appear to have sunk in. (Although I do have some questions for the dad who let her ride home alone but that’s for another time.)

I guess it’s kinda tough being nine going on thirteen. I guess it’s kinda tough being the odd man out when a couple of kids decide that’s what you’re going to be. I guess it’s kinda tough trying to explain these kinds of things to your old man who thinks that a bowl of ice cream and a blast of the hose is some kind of miracle cure for whatever is bothering you.