Goodbye Garrett

Sidney has decided who she is going to marry. Again.

Now, granted, I know there are a few red flags in the above paragraph. First of all, Sidney is only five years old. And I think most experts think you should be at least six or seven before you settle on a choice of husband. (Six or seven, incidentally, is the emotional age most husbands remain for perpetuity.) And secondly, her decision to leave one fiancée for another — without even a break between fiancées — appears, on the surface at least, to suggest a certain lack of commitment.

Let me address the second point first: The notion that Sidney is unable to commit and remain committed is absolutely false. Sidney was planning to marry a very nice young man named Garrett for the past year and a half. Now, a year and a half may not seem like a long time until you place it into perspective with two very significant facts:

(1) Sidney is only five years old. Thus, a year and a half constitutes 30% of her life (I know this because I did the math in my head, then double checked it on the Mac Calculator application). When taken into further context — that only three of those five years were spent with the ability to effectively use language to communicate — one could reasonably argue that she spent 50% of her socially cognizant life engaged to Garrett. And that’s not slouching.

(2) Sidney only spent 6 of the 18 months of her engagement to Garrett living in the same state as her fiancée. That’s right — she decided to marry Garrett just about six months before we moved from California to Colorado. Then, for her entire first year in Colorado — more than that, actually — her heart remained true to Garrett. There have been other nice boys in her life, and other boys who obviously had affection for her, but she stuck with Garrett, even though she didn’t see him for almost a year after we moved. (For those who are eagerly tracking the details, we saw him six weeks ago at Chevy’s in South San Francisco. They were shy with each other for about ten minutes, then it was like the good old days after that, with lots of laughing and playing.) And I think #2 here is really the decisive point — what 30 year old woman would remain steadfastly devoted to a man she didn’t see for a year, let alone a four/five year old?

So let’s give it up for Sidney and her big heart of gold. Sidney has good taste too — Garrett is a very nice boy with a very sweet and kind streak, especially for a five year old boy. Okay, fine, especially for any boy. Okay, fine, especially for any male of any age of most species.

And now, on with her surprisingly unpainful decision to move on, given her previous steadfast devotion to said Garrett. On Friday, after picking Sidney up from preschool (where she goes three times a week) Sidney let us know that she’s going to marry Harrison. Harrison? Janette and I had never even heard of Harrison. But my first question was not about Harrison. My first question was:

“What about Garrett?”

“I’m not going to marry Garrett anymore, Dad. I’m going to marry Harrison.”

Very decisive. Very bold. Very empowered. And with that, the long and storied Garrett era was apparently over. This was confirmed by our three year old, Riley, who said very authoritatively to me on Sunday:


“Yes Riley?”

“Sidney’s not going to marry Garrett anymore. She’s going to marry Harrison.”

But getting back to Friday’s announcement in the car… So my wife was immediately, instinctively shocked and nervous by all this. “I didn’t have boyfriends when I was five,” she said. I calmly reminded her that we’re not talking about a boyfriend here; we’re talking about a fiancée. For some reason that did not ease her discomfort. Then I asked Sidney what had made her switch to the heretofore never mentioned Harrison. Is he in her class at school? Yes. Why are you going to marry him?

“Because he asked me if I would be his girlfriend.”

(You see what I say about commitment? This girl doesn’t do anything half-assed.)

“And what did you say?”

“I said yes.”

“And what else did you talk about?”

“He asked if he could sit beside me at lunch the next school day.”

“And what did you say?”

“I said yes.”

“And he asked if he could sit beside me in art the next day.”

“And what did you say?”

“I said yes.”

“And why do like Harrison?”

“Because he can spell, like me.” (For the record, Sidney really cannot spell. Maybe a few words, like her name. But it’s a very good sign that she’s looking for a fine intellect in a fiancée, not just a pretty face.)

“Is Harrison nice to you?” I asked.

“Yes. He’s always nice to me,” Sidney said.

So I turned to my wife and said: “Well, he’s always nice to her, and he can spell. That’s more than most women get in a fiancée.”

So there you have it. Case closed. I hope I get to meet Harrison before they marry. Oh, and one more thing. Ladies, this one’s for you. Today (Monday), in the car on the way home from school, I asked what happened at school. I can see my wife tensing up out of the corner of my eye, getting ready for more Harrison love stories. A few happy, trivial items were casually reported, nothing about Harrison, which I believe put Janette at ease. And then, as if Sidney had recited this harmless set of details only to set her mother up for the shock of her final comment, was this nugget:

“And Harrison asked if he could sleep next to me.”

I looked to the passenger seat at Janette beside me. She had not passed out, which was encouraging. So I tried to soften the blow a little bit:

“You mean at naptime, right?” (The school has an afternoon naptime, although the five year olds usually get to blow it off.)

“Yes, at naptime,” Sidney happily said.

“Right,” I said. I looked over at Janette again. She was still breathing.

I’ll keep you posted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *